Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian

SummaryThe Authentics is a fresh, funny, and insightful novel about culture, love, and family—the kind we are born into and the ones we create.


Daria Esfandyar is Iranian-American and proud of her heritage, unlike some of the “Nose Jobs” in the clique led by her former best friend, Heidi Javadi. Daria and her friends call themselves the Authentics, because they pride themselves on always keeping it real.

But in the course of researching a school project, Daria learns something shocking about her past, which launches her on a journey of self-discovery. It seems everyone is keeping secrets. And it’s getting harder to know who she even is any longer.

With infighting among the Authentics, her mother planning an over-the-top sweet sixteen party, and a romance that should be totally off limits, Daria doesn’t have time for this identity crisis. As everything in her life is spinning out of control—can she figure out how to stay true to herself? (Via Goodreads.com)

Pages: 279

Release Date: August 8th, 2017

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Review:

The Authentics was a 2017 release that I was oblivious about until the week of its release. I stumbled upon a blurb from Adi Alsaid about The Authentics on Twitter and it intrigued me enough to request a copy from my local library. The Authentics follows an Iranian-American teen, Daria, who begins to struggle with her identity after she discovers some unexpected news about her heritage. The novel was absolutely mesmerizing, I highly recommend reading The Authentics whenever you have the ability to do so. 

After finishing The Authentics, I felt that I learned a lot from it. I had never read a book about an Iranian-American before, so it was interesting to learn about their culture and the pride they take in their identity. I have never identified strongly with any particular culture or country, so it was refreshing to read about an individual that does. It was amazing to see the pride that Daria takes in her heritage and how impactful it was to learn that her heritage was not what she had always assumed it was. 

Whenever I started The Authentics, I was nervous that I was not going to enjoy the novel because I did not initially like the writing style of Abdi and his characterization of Daria. It appeared that the writing style was going to make Daria the cliche annoying teenager. However, I was pleasantly surprised that after the first few chapters the writing style was able to seamlessly capture the challenges of being a teenager and Daria's identity crisis without anyone or anything being annoying. Since I am a teenager, I was able to identify with some of the challenges that Daria faced and the writing style actually represented them in a positive and relatable way. Many Young Adult novels tend to degrade the significance of particular teenage problems, but I am glad that Adbi was able to frame them in a positive light, unlike other YA authors. Some challenges seem to be the end of the world to us and authors should respect that, especially when they are supposedly writing for us.

I also enjoyed the relationships in The Authentics. Daria is a part of a group of friends who refer to themselves as The Authentics and they are a great support system for her and each other. While they are hesitant to reveal everything to each other, they are always there for each other and they genuinely care for one another. I also loved Daria's relationship with her family. While some of those relationships are strained, it a realistic portrayal and caused an interesting dynamic. I also enjoyed her venture into romance, it was an interesting relationship to say the least, but I am glad where they ended things. 

The Authentics was a refreshing novel that dealt with ethnicity, identity, and family. I absolutely loved The Authentics and I am excited to read Adbi's past and upcoming works. I also plan to read other books featuring Iranian-Americans in the future. I highly recommend reading The Authentics, it was a fantastic novel that I hope to see more love for, I have barely seen anything posted about it on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. If you have read The Authentics, please let me know in the comments below what you thought of it and also let me know in the comments if you plan to add it to your TBR. 



Monday, August 21, 2017

ARC Review: Night of Cake and Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2.5) by Laini Taylor & Illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo


SummaryIn Night of Cake & Puppets, Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy — the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Told in alternating perspectives, it’s the perfect love story for fans of the series and new readers alike. 

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to meet him, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. 

It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before finally leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy’s not going to know what hit him. 



Expected Release Date: September 12th, 2017


Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Review:

I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced physical copy of Night of Cake and Puppets from NOVL, the Young Adult division of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, in exchange for an honest review. Night of Cake and Puppets is a novella from the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy that follows Zuzana and Mik's first date, which takes place during the second book in the trilogy, Days of Blood & Starlight. This novella was originally published in November of 2013 in only digital formats; however, it is now being released in physical format with illustrations on September 12th. I originally  read Night of Cake and Puppets when it was released digitally in 2013; however, it was great to revisit a story and characters that I absolutely adored. Rereading Night of Cake and Puppets has made me want to reread the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

It is hard to talk about the story since it is a novella that takes place during the second installment in the trilogy. All I can say is that I have always loved Zuzana and Mik and Night of Cake & Puppets does not disappoint. The development of their relationship is precious and has made me extremely nostalgic. Be warned that Night of Cake & Puppets may have you reaching for the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy again. The only negative I have about the novella is that two particular expressions the characters use are a bit inappropriate and rude to particular groups of individuals. While they are things a teenager, and even some adults, would say, they are sayings that should not be used commonly, if at all, in media. 


While the story itself was fantastic, the illustrations were absolutely gorgeous. The illustrator, Jim Di Bartolo, was able to capture these characters and their story perfectly. Not all of the illustrations were in the advanced copy I received, but I am excited to see them all in the finished copies. If you preorder a copy of Night of Cake and Puppets, submit your preorder here to receive an exclusive signed art print. Also, if you would like to see some of the illustrations, Laini Taylor teases some of them here


Night of Cake & Puppets is absolutely adorable. It was amazing to revisit the Daughter of Smoke & Bone characters and world for a brief time. If you have yet to complete the trilogy, wait to read Night of Cake & Puppets until you have finished the second book in the trilogy, Days of Blood & Starlight, or after Zuzana mentions the date to Karou in Days of Blood & Starlight. Night of Cake & Puppets is a fantastic addition to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy that any fan needs for their collection. Do not forget to preorder or request a copy at your local library. The release, September 12th, is right around the corner.




Friday, August 18, 2017

Review & Excerpt Tour: Wish You Were Here by Renée Carlino





You know when you’re looking at someone and you can’t help but smile at how oblivious they are to their own charm? That’s what was happening to me, and it was making me feel…happy. Euphoric. Something indescribable. It was like we already knew each other, like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks. 

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, searching for a spark to jump-start her life and give her a sense of purpose. She’s had as many jobs as she’s had bad relationships, and now she’s feeling especially lost in her less-than-glamorous gig at a pie-and-fry joint in Los Angeles, where the uniforms are bad and the tips are even worse. 

Then she collides—literally—with Adam, an intriguing, handsome, and mysterious painter. Their serendipitous meeting on the street turns into a whirlwind one-night stand that has Charlotte feeling enchanted by Adam’s spontaneity and joy for life. There’s promise in both his words and actions, but in the harsh light of morning, Adam’s tune changes, leaving Charlotte to wonder if her notorious bad luck with men is really just her own bad judgment.

Months later, a new relationship with Seth, a charming baseball player, is turning into something more meaningful, but Charlotte’s still having trouble moving past her one enthralling night with Adam. Why? When she searches for answers, she finds the situation with Adam is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Faced with the decision to write a new story with Seth or finish the one started with Adam, Charlotte embarks on a life-altering journey, one that takes her across the world and back again, bringing a lifetime’s worth of pain, joy, and wisdom.  



AMAZON | B&N | iBooks





“You’re making love sound tragic,” I said.

“No”—he shook his head—“I wouldn’t want it any other way. Tell me about us. What do we like to do?”

“Paint and sail and eat and drink. Just simple things.” “Don’t forget about sex,” he said.


“Yeah, lots of sex. Before the children were born we-"

"We were practically naked every second of the day.” 

“I like that.”

“When they got older, we’d sneak away for weekends and leave them at my mom’s.”

“What are they like? Our children.”

“Happy. That’s all we wished for. We put our love first and it just spilled over into them and now they’re happy.”

Tears sprang from my eyes and ran down my cheeks. Isn’t that what we all hope for when it comes to our children?

His tone suddenly changed. “That’s beautiful, Char- lotte.” It was like he was waking up from the dream. I didn’t want to go back to reality yet, but I knew these fantasies were just to help Adam get his mind off things.

“I can imagine a long life with you,” he said. “I can imagine what a great wife you’d be."
I pulled my hand out of his. “The story is about you and me.” He didn’t say anything; he just nodded and then continued to stare out the window. I bent and kissed the top of his head again, and whispered, “It’s about us. Don’t take that away from me.” 










Rating: 4/5 Stars


Wish You Were Here is the first contemporary novel of Renée Carlino's that I have read. I previously read her paranormal romance, Lucian Divine, which I did enjoy, but I have never read any of her strictly contemporary novels. I knew nothing about Wish You Were Here before I started reading it and I am glad I did not. Wish You Were Here was a quick, engaging, and emotional read that I enjoyed. I would recommend reading Wish You Were Here if you are interested in reading a quick New Adult contemporary novel that has the potential to make you cry.

My favorite part of Wish You Were Here was the fact that part of the story was based in San Diego, California. I fell in love with San Diego the first time I visited the city for San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) in 2014 and I loved being there in the story. I especially loved that the convention center, where SDCC is annually held, was briefly mentioned. I was unable to attend SDCC this year or visit San Diego, but I am glad that I was able to journey there in Wish You Were Here. I wish I was there in San Diego.

Although the ability to predict the storyline of Wish You Were Here was rather easy, I appreciated the path the story took. Wish You Were Here is essentially a book about life. While it also features love, loss, moving-on, and recovery, the true purpose is to celebrate life. Not many books I have read feature the theme of life when under these particular circumstances. 

The characters of Wish You Were Here were, by no means my favorite characters of all-time, but I fell in love with them and their story. While I do not agree with all the main character's choices and I do condemn some of them, it was interesting to follow her on this journey. Laura's Mvula's Show Me Love is a great anthem for her journey and story arc. The romance in Wish You Were Here was nice, but it was cheesy, at times.

Wish You Were Here was an enjoyable read and I am interested to read Renée Carlino's other contemporary books, I currently own Sweet Thing and After the Rain. If you have read any of her other books, please let me know what you thought and which one I should pick up next. 










Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women's novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher's Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com   








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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Release Day Blitz: Wish You Were Here by Renée Carlino

  


You know when you’re looking at someone and you can’t help but smile at how oblivious they are to their own charm? That’s what was happening to me, and it was making me feel…happy. Euphoric. Something indescribable. It was like we already knew each other, like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks. 

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, searching for a spark to jump-start her life and give her a sense of purpose. She’s had as many jobs as she’s had bad relationships, and now she’s feeling especially lost in her less-than-glamorous gig at a pie-and-fry joint in Los Angeles, where the uniforms are bad and the tips are even worse. 

Then she collides—literally—with Adam, an intriguing, handsome, and mysterious painter. Their serendipitous meeting on the street turns into a whirlwind one-night stand that has Charlotte feeling enchanted by Adam’s spontaneity and joy for life. There’s promise in both his words and actions, but in the harsh light of morning, Adam’s tune changes, leaving Charlotte to wonder if her notorious bad luck with men is really just her own bad judgment. 

Months later, a new relationship with Seth, a charming baseball player, is turning into something more meaningful, but Charlotte’s still having trouble moving past her one enthralling night with Adam. Why? When she searches for answers, she finds the situation with Adam is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Faced with the decision to write a new story with Seth or finish the one started with Adam, Charlotte embarks on a life-altering journey, one that takes her across the world and back again, bringing a lifetime’s worth of pain, joy, and wisdom.   



AMAZON | B&N | iBooks








“You’re making love sound tragic,” I said.

“No”—he shook his head—“I wouldn’t want it any other way. Tell me about us. What do we like to do?”

“Paint and sail and eat and drink. Just simple things.” “Don’t forget about sex,” he said.
“Yeah, lots of sex. Before the children were born we-"

"We were practically naked every second of the day.” 

“I like that.”

“When they got older, we’d sneak away for weekends and leave them at my mom’s.”

“What are they like? Our children.”

“Happy. That’s all we wished for. We put our love first and it just spilled over into them and now they’re happy.”

Tears sprang from my eyes and ran down my cheeks. Isn’t that what we all hope for when it comes to our children?

His tone suddenly changed. “That’s beautiful, Char- lotte.” It was like he was waking up from the dream. I didn’t want to go back to reality yet, but I knew these fantasies were just to help Adam get his mind off things.

“I can imagine a long life with you,” he said. “I can imagine what a great wife you’d be."
I pulled my hand out of his. “The story is about you and me.” He didn’t say anything; he just nodded and then continued to stare out the window. I bent and kissed the top of his head again, and whispered, “It’s about us. Don’t take that away from me.” 






   





 


Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women's novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher's Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com   








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Monday, August 14, 2017

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Summary: Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores (Via Goodreads.com).

Pages: 497

Release Date: June 27th, 2017

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Review:

I have been highly anticipating The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. It was one of the few books I preordered this year. For the last six months, I have heard nothing but rave reviews, but I unfortunately did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would. To my delight, the characters were absolutely adorable and lovable; however, the plot was forgettable and, at times, I had a difficult time engaging with the story. 

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is based in the 1700s and follows Monty as he takes a year-long tour of Europe with his best friend, Percy, before Monty will be forced to settle down and take over his father's estate. His sister, Felicity, is also along for the first part of the tour until she is dropped off at finishing school. Of course, everything goes awry when Monty steals something and he is also forced to confront his more than friendly feelings for his best friend. 

Monty, Percy, and Felicity were the best part of the book. They all possessed strong personalities and brought the story to life. I was excited to learn that Felicity will be getting her own book, The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, which is expected to be released in 2018. I also loved the relationship between Monty and Percy. They were absolutely adorable together and I want to see more of them. It was interesting to see each of the characters interact with their time-period. Each of the characters possess at least one trait or feature that their society dislikes and attempts to control since it contrasts with their ideals. It was fascinating to learn about each of the characters and how they cope with their "flaw." I also loved the addition of the Author's Note, it provided valuable resources and information to some of the issues and politics addressed in the book that were unable to be fully flushed out in the story arc.

While the characters were a joyful and rambunctious bunch, the story was rather forgettable. I read The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue in eight days, a few days of those eight I did not read the book at all. During the few times I put it down, I forgot some of the references they made to previously revealed things, such as why Monty was kicked out of boarding school. The plot and the storylines of the book were not boring by any means, but I had a difficult time absorbing them. The amount of information thrown at me was not too much, I was not engaged as much as I should have been in the story. The story was compelling at times, but sometimes the plot would stretch itself out for too long. Even though the story was long, I do not feel that the book had closure. While we will probably be seeing Monty and Percy in The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, I wish we would have learned more about their ending. Mackenzi Lee had originally sworn she would not write another book with these characters, so she should have given her readers a little more because that was supposedly the last time we would have visited these characters. I am glad there is more to come, but she should have provided a bit more at the end of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. She would have left all three of her characters too soon if she had not agreed to write a second book. It was left too open-ended for all of the characters. I wanted more resolve for the supposed only book featuring these characters.

Another issue I had with The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue was it's map. While I typically love the inclusion of maps, the map featured in The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue featured spoilers. Obviously the plans for the European tour go awry and the characters' journey to unexpected places, but I hate the fact that the reader learns where they travel before they even start the story. I wish the map at the beginning was either a basic European map that features all the cities they travel to as well as other European cities or featured the original course they had planned to take. Before each section of the book that introduces where the characters are, the reader could have referred to the basic map at the front to see where they were or the map with the original route could be featured in each section with a section of the new route added. While this issue was not a major one, I would have preferred to have been surprised where these characters traveled to. I wanted to feel as though I was on a detour, too.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue was a cute YA Historical Fiction book that also featured some heavy topics. It was perfect to read during the summer, especially on a road-trip to Chicago like I did. I am excited to read about Felicity's journey in the The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy as well as possibly see some familiar faces. I recommend picking up a copy of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue if you have not already, it is an enjoyable and intriguing read. Unfortunately, I did not completely love it, but The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue was enjoyable and worth the read.










Friday, August 11, 2017

Nevernight (Nevernight #1) by Jay Kristoff

Summary: The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge? (Via Goodreads.com)


Pages: 427

Release Date: August 9th, 2016

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Review:

Nevernight was the last book my local library chose to read this summer for their teen book club. Although I finished it over a week ago, I am still having a hard time pinpointing my rating of this novel. My rating of Nevernight continually fluctuates from 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5. Nevernight was an enjoyable read, but it did not live up to the hype surrounding it. While the story was addictive and the setting and the world was unique, intriguing, and quirky, the story line was not cohesive and the characters were mediocre.

I prefer books that are consistent. If a book features several chapters that alternates from the past to the present, I expect that to happen throughout the novel. I would prefer the novel to continually do that instead of stopping after a few chapters. For the first few chapters of Nevernight, the beginning of the chapters feature Mia's past and the second half features her present. While that formatting style initially confused and frustrated me, I grew used to it and was annoyed when it stopped. I disliked that throughout the book Jay Kristoff would begin a particular format and then promptly stop using it a few chapters later. I prefer consistency because it gives structure to a story that Nevernight lacked at times.

Another formatting issue I had with the book was it's use of footnotes. At the bottom of most pages, footnotes would provide readers with extra backstories or explanations. While a couple of the footnotes helped me better grasp the world, most of them featured useless information that only confused me more. The information in the footnotes could provide valuable information later on in the trilogy, but much of the information was useless at the time and only made my reading experience more difficult. It is hard to filter out valuable information in the beginning when the author is throwing too much information at you. It was difficult deciphering what was important and what was not because it was so early on in the book. The beginning of Nevernight was confusing because the reader is dropped into the story and has to delve into Mia's past and present spontaneously. While I commonly enjoy books that feature a similar format, it was too much information early on. The information would have been better suited revealed at a later time.

No matter the amount of information being thrown at the reader, Nevernight was an addictive story. The writing, world-building, and Mia's journey was an intriguing combination that created a fantastic story. Although I struggled to engage with the story until page 50, I could not put the story down once I truly immersed myself into the story. The narration was fantastic and allowed the story to take shape. Without this particular narration, I would not have finished the novel. The narrator had a sense of humor I understood and appreciated. It gave the story personality and liveliness. The world of Nevernight and the system of religion and the different suns was also a fascinating piece of the story. The world was extremely unique and it was amazing to learn more about it. It was devised well and was a great contribution to the story. It made for the perfect backdrop of Nevernight

Unfortunately, the characters of Nevernight were nothing special. While I did enjoy Tric, none of the characters were that notable. They never hooked me into their lives or their backstories. The reader knew the bare minimum about any of them. Understandably, they are training to become world-renowned assassins, they cannot share everything with Mia, but none of them stood out or captured my heart. They were two-dimensional characters that I could have found in any other fantasy novel.

Nevernight was an enjoyable fantasy book that I am glad to say I have finally read. Nevernight's sequel, Godsgrave, is expected to be released on September 5th of 2017 and I plan to read it sometime in the future. After finishing Nevernight, I am not compelled to immediately preorder Godsgrave, but I do plan to read it in the future. In Nevernight, Jay Kristoff laid the groundwork for an intriguing trilogy that I am interested to finish. While Nevernight was not entirely what I expected, it was an enjoyable enough book to compel me to continue reading the trilogy. I must admit though, if I do end up purchasing Godsgrave, I will be purchasing the UK edition to match my UK copy of Nevernight. For whatever reason, I dislike the US covers of the trilogy. The AUS/UK covers on the other hand are gorgeous. Even if I did not plan to read Godsgrave, I might still have compulsively purchased it because the covers are so beautiful. Please let me know in the comments below which covers you prefer, the US or the AUS/UK editions!






AUS/UK Editions of 
Nevernight & Godsgrave

















VS



US Editions of 
Nevernight & Godsgrave






Monday, August 7, 2017

Blog Tour: Covetous (The Marked Mage Chronicles #2) by Victoria Evers + Giveaway



Covetous
The Marked Mage Chronicles, Book #2
 by Victoria Evers


Genre: Paranormal Romance 
Release Date: July 14, 2017



Heaven Wants Me Dead.
Hell Wants Me As Their Weapon.
And I'm in Bed With A Devil.

I was just your average seventeen-year-old girl, until I was Marked. Some may sell their souls; mine was taken. Not only are angelic hunters out to kill me, but Hell's deadliest Mage—the devilishly charming Crown Prince of Lust—is just as desperate to get his hands on me...again. No, he doesn't want me dead. This seductive trickster only has one thing on his mind: making me his new blushing bride.

He can call me his "mate" all he wants. I'm not about ready to sign my soul away into eternal damnation, no matter how gorgeous he may be. But after two months on the run, I realize I can't escape the ugly truth. If I wish to fight another day, I may just have to make a deal with the worst kind of devil. The kind that loves me.


I thought I knew what rock bottom was, but this is only the beginning. As the great poet once said, "Hell is empty and all the devils are here."



$0.99 Release Sale!









“Talk about bad timing,” laughed Sam. 

I rolled over on my mattress to see him staring out my side window. “What is it?”

“Your new neighbor’s just arrived.”

Hanna had spent most of the past hour stealing looks, hoping for even a glimpse of the guy in question with no such luck. Despite the humor in Hanna’s horrible timing, I still groaned. The view in question looked literally right out into the neighboring window not ten feet away, guaranteeing zero privacy. So it was official. I’d have to keep my window shades permanently pulled from here on out. 

“Sure it’s not just one of the movers? They’re all pretty young,” I said.

Sam chuckled. “Trust me; this guy isn’t dressed for the job. He’s not really dressed, period.”

What?” Curiosity got the better of me. I climbed off the mattress, joining my friend at the window. 

Sam sidled aside and flipped on the light switch to admire my new setup as I went to the music dock, using its location below the window as an excuse to steal a casual look across the way. I didn’t even have to make a song selection. As soon as I touched the radio, Arctic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know” suddenly started playing. I scooped up my phone, which was synced with the device, searching for the song in question. Since when was this on my playlist?

“What’s wrong?” asked Sam, clearly noting my bafflement.

Before I could so much as articulate a single syllable, my eyes instinctively shot up to the window at the sight of movement across the way. That building heat in my chest roared to life, making my knees out-and-out buckle.

Sam wasn’t kidding. My new neighbor wasn’t wearing much of anything, apart from a pair of black jeans that hung dangerously low, revealing the chiseled V-shaped section of his lower abdominals that rivaled Apollo himself.  

I outright gawked, feeling my phone slip from my limp fingers. It clattered on the hardwood, but I didn’t care. I just kept staring.

This couldn’t be.

This couldn’t be.

This couldn’t be.

My new neighbor slipped on the matching black dress shirt in his hands, but didn’t bother buttoning it. Instead, he simply rolled the cuffs up his sleeves just enough to display the black metallic tattoos brandishing his left arm.

“You okay?” Sam reiterated.

I didn’t move—couldn’t move.

My neighbor.

He all so casually looked up, not the least bit surprised to find me ogling at him, and straightened the collar to his opened shirt. That taut frame flexed as he raised his arms, lazily resting them on the top of the opened window. A slow, devious smile pulled at his lips.

Finally regaining control over my body, I stumbled back a step, still unable to peel my eyes away from him. I whirled, preparing to bolt for the door. I was cut short though, smacking into something—hard. 

Sam. 

I’d run right into him.

“Geez!” he yelped.

My momentum toppled us over, and I landed on top of him as he smacked down on the area rug.

“Owww.” He winced with a laugh, and I rolled off him with an apology. “What’s with you?”

Ding dong!

Shit!

He couldn’t possibly have gotten over here that fast… 

I shot up from the carpet, ignoring Sam’s insistency, and raced for the staircase.

“Don’t answer the—” I rounded the banister, just in time to see my Aunt Jenna pull the front door open. Crashing to a halt at the bottom of the landing, I was paralyzed in place as magnetic icy eyes and bleached blonde hair greeted me on the other side of the entryway.

“Hello, lovely,” Blaine purred. 


*      *      *





VICTORIA EVERS is a debut paranormal fiction writer who feels really awkward referring to herself in the third person.... When she's not vacationing in Narnia, you’ll probably find her reading, watching horror movies, spending time with her AMAZING family, or daydreaming about the newest story in her head.











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