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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Supernatural Sunday

     all's fair in vanities war FINALhighres.jpeg

Druids

by

Elizabeth Marxx


When you imagine druid, you imagine someone resembling the man above. Locke Cavanagh is descended from this old gentleman, even though Locke looks nothing like the old wise man depicted here. The one thing they do share in common besides their ancient DNA is their workrooms. Locke’s inner sanctum is not very different from his predecessors, even though a millennium separates them.

Locke Cavanagh’s is located in the barn behind his house in Salem. His Sanctum Sanctorum contains his library of arcane knowledge, his temple, a magical museum, and a worktable.

Locke’s barn is original to the property and dates back to the late 1780’s. The barn has a waist-high stone foundation with raised timbered walls above, and it’s crowned with a slate roof. It has several entrances, a regular door nestled under the eaves, a double barn-door that slides on a track and a loft door for the second story hay loft, which Locke converted into a bedroom. The interior has limestone floors; the center of the stone floor has a laminated wood, checkerboard-floor, where life-size chess pieces stand like statues waiting to be moved by feats of magic.

All druids worth an ounce of salt have a library of the arcane that houses books on magic, science and nature, history, myths and legends, art books, reference materials and maps. Even though the druids don’t record their own histories in bound volumes, they do collect the knowledge of other ancient wise people. These volumes range in a myriad of magical subjects from the Persian Magi, to the arcane wisdom of African shamans, to the mysticism of the ancient Egyptians.

Locke’s temple or altar, houses his serpent’s egg which is used for divination, his athame (knife) and chalice used for rituals and depictions of the male and female gods: Abundia the goddess of abundance and a bronze statue of Cernunnos the god of fertility. Candles, a censure for burning incense, bowls of salt, a crystal bowl for water, and gong are all items used to represent the earth and elements. Any magical amulets and talismans would also be kept here for protection. If one possessed, let’s say, a magical mirror, it too would find protection when placed on the altar.

A druid learns many lessons from his environment and his desire for learning and improvement never ceases, making a magical museum essential. A cabinet of curiosities holds precious items like seeds, flowers, fossils, rocks and crystals, models or dioramas for further study. Globes, sundials, and contraptions like timepieces, water clocks, and sundials are used for plotting the motion of the heavenly bodies and estimating the best times to take action or create spells. A menagerie containing both a terrarium with local plant life, insects and small animals, and an aquarium planted with natural water plants and filled with local pond water and fish help keep the druid grounded in his local surroundings.

A druids’ worktable houses items for creating compounds that work in conjunction with spells and incantations. It’s not much different than a modern chemistry lab set-up. An athenos is a small furnace used for melting and combining metals and other substances similar to a Bunsen burner. An alembic is used for distilling the essence of liquids used for the same thing as an evaporating dish and lab burner. Pieces of quartz, a mortar and pestle, a whetstone and knife, bottles and cloth sacks for herbs and spices are scattered around the surface. Locke doesn’t keep any freshly ground unicorn horn around but he does have eye of newt. These folklore items rest alongside beakers, Erlenmeyer flasks and safety glasses at the table. Some of the more traditional items on a druids’ worktable are crystal balls for divination, which should only be used sparingly, hour candles, and a polished skull which serves to startle visitors and makes an excellent paper weight. A large black cauldron rests in the middle of the table and is handy for stirring all sorts of spells or for storing paint thinner. Don’t tell Locke this is what Keleigh used it for while he was away or he might blow a gasket, nah, he’ll just make sure Humphrey scours it. What druid doesn’t have a little minion to do all the dirty work?

If you think because you have ExtraOrdinary skills you don’t have to work at them, your wrong. Just like any other talent inherited from your parents, the more effort you invest in enhancing the ability, the better master of it you will become. Most ExtraOrdinaries believe their magical aptitudes are a gift and choose to use them wisely and for good purposes, but beware those who use them for the sole purpose of expanding their personal power, for they pay a steep price. Remember what happened to Ciara, a fiery death isn’t fun. Just ask the Seer.

For those interested in how Locke differs from the old looking druid above, here’s a glimpse of what a modern druid looks like. Be still your beating hearts. . . All this and magic too!


 


       

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Starlight Saturday

Please Welcome Guest Author
J.J. Bidell


I am very happy about sharing some information about me here. My real name is Elke Becker and I am a German author living in Spain, so my English is far away from being perfect. So please bear with me ;-)

After travelling around the world at least I settled down in Spain, to be exactly on Mallorca, a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea. I never felt like home in Germany and for that reason I looked for my place in the world.

I lived alone in Venezuela where I started studying Spanish. Nobody over there spoke English nether German. So I felt very lonely there the first time. For that reason I started writing and never could stop again. The stories of too many funny adventures, curious situations, different customs and very nice people from all over the world has to been told. As it was in a time where not every home had an internet connection nether skype or other systems offered their service, I had to connect with family and friends going in an internet café. So I started writing what happened to me during my stay like a dairy. I saved it on a floppy disk and walked to the closest internet café for sending it to my family.

In this time I was far away from writing novels but I never stopped writing for myself. The first three “novels” are still “sleeping” in a file in my computer. They are nice to read … but without a real story or plot … I showed it only to my sister and to a friend – they loved the stories and I know they will love everything I write because they love me. So I took courses in creative and screenplay writing, bought books like “How to write a damn good novel” and some other books about writing – and I wrote a lot. Short stories, longer ones and scripts for short movies.

After another year I tried to start my next novel. I plotted with the “snowflake method”, wrote a crime story – inspired by a true story – and found a publisher in Germany. So things started slowly.

It was great fun during the screenplay writing course painting the storyboard of my script for a short movie and helped a lot in dialogue seeing the written words getting alive by actors. I will never forget the feeling I had seeing it on the screen. If you wish to have a look – it is subtitled and free:  http://vimeo.com/groups/germanshortfilms/videos/14587417


Well, my nieces are not interested in crime stories not even in my ones. Kids are cruel and honest and I love this. But they asked me why I am not writing something for them like an urban fantasy story without werewolves and vampires and I promised them to consider it.

As I travelled to Mexico before I remembered a legend of jaguar people in the Maya era and I started thinking: What will happen, when a young woman in present time will be transformed into a panther in a foreign country living there by her own? What if she fell in love and this love will be in danger? Slowly the plot grew up. I travelled to Maine for finding the right place for the US setting and after a year the first part of novel has been done. I wrote this story under the name J. J. Bidell. (The name comes from my nieces Jessica and Janine and the maiden name of my beloved mother Bidell)

My nieces love the story and other readers in Germany like the story too. So I asked a professional translator in Washington to translate the first part for English readers. Some people asked me, why English spoken people should read a novel of an unknown German author and I was not able to answer. But I nor know the answer why German readers are reading the stories of authors from other countries … maybe it is only while the story sounds interesting? I will see if they like the story. The time will show.

In the meanwhile I am working in the second part which will be finished in December this year (German Edition) and I love how the characters challenge me while trying to live their own live in the story. And the story I have in mind for them.

My only intention is to entertain the reader for some hours. Nothing more, nothing less. If I achieve this I am very happy and if not I try to achieve this next time as far as I gain it.

Biography
J. J. Bidell.jpg
J. J. Bidell grew up in the country-bred of Southern Germany with an older sister and a younger brother. Since she was 18 years old she travelled every year like a backpacker thru the North and South America as she never felt comfortable in her native country. She considers herself like a cosmopolitan with German roots.  After living in Venezuela and in the Dominican Republic she moved to Spain. Since 2005 she lives on Mallorca with her older sister and her fifteen year old black cat, which is more than happy that she never has to set paw in another airplane again.

Under the name Elke Becker she published several short stories with Amnesty International, in anthologies and a novel with Schenk Publishing House. Her script of a short movie “Marie´s voice” has been running in several international film festivals like in the UK and Colombia.

Where to meet:
Home: www.elke-becker.com
Twitter: @JJBidell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JJBidell

Link to the novel: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005IHDW82



Look for my review of J.J.'s book to come!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wistful Wednesday

Why Wolves?

(Image courtesy of FotoSearch.com)


Whenever I discuss my latest book, Sloane Wolf, people often ask me, Why Wolves? And I have to say, why not? Wolves are fantastic creatures that mate for life and are truly faithful to their mates (from what I've read), and we humans could learn a lot from them.

As it pertains to my book, however, it was rather serendipitous that I ended up writing about wolves. I didn't intentionally set out to do so, but a series of events conspired to make it happen. The first event came in the form of a book that was ultimately made into a movie that got me to thinking - and anybody who knows me can tell you that when I get to thinking, things begin to happen...in a writing sense that is! I can turn the smallest nugget of an idea into a story, if motivated enough to do so, and that is how this story started out, as just a nugget. So there I was, inspired by this other book/movie enough that certain scenes kept kicking up in my head (ahem, fight scene), but content just to imagine it in my head. 

(Image courtesy of FotoSearch.com)


Until event number two happened. That would be a contest that an electronic publishing company was running with the theme of - you guessed it - wolves. And so I thought, why not? I had some interesting scenes kicking around in my head, the contest was for a novella length story, so I had enough to accomplish that. And with the help of event number three - discovering an article about gray wolves returning to Massachusetts after a100-plus year absence - a true story began to formulate with legends of wolves and why they "reappeared" in the state after such a long absence. Wow, I thought, this was really going to be something, if I could get it all together in time.

Trouble was, once I started writing, I just kept on writing and I over-shot the word count. One thing I forgot when I set out to enter this contest: I have never been able to write short. I keep trying, but I usually have so much to say, it doesn't conform well to short stories or novellas. Not wanting to cut anything to fit the guidelines, I simply finished the book for me. And by the time I was finished with it, I knew that I had to try to get it published anyway, I felt that strong about it. And after several fits and starts, I finally found the right publisher for it in Muse it Up Publishing.

So there you have it. The serendipitous events that led to the birth of Sloane Wolf.


-- 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tantalizing Tuesday

Best Bad Date Character Interview
by
Addison James

Thebestbaddate.jpg

Addison: Today I’m pleased to interview the stars of my recently released romantic comedy short story, THE BEST BAD DATE: Dr Roger Lane and Ms Susan Wells, written by me, Addison James, and released in December 2011 by Muse It Up Publishing.  Susan, Roger, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed.

Roger: Thanks for inviting us.

Susan: Yes, it’s very sweet of you to ask us.

Addison: Well, I really appreciate you allowing me to document your story. I think the title tells it all, but can you two describe how your first date was and how did you survive?

Roger: (laughing)  Well, how much time do we have? (He looks at Susan and holds her hand.) Honey, would you like to do the honors?

Susan: (smiling) Well, I could, or we could do it together.

Addison: let’s start with how you met. That’s interesting.

(Roger and Susan look at each other and burst out laughing.)

Roger: Um, interesting is a good word.

Susan: I’d say unusual.

Roger: Memorable.

Susan: Unique.

Roger: Special. (gazing into Susan’s eyes and ignoring Addison)

Susan: (looking at Roger) Very special.

(Addison coughs and the couple refocuses their attention to her.)

Roger: It was a bachelor auction.

Susan: And he was worth every penny!

Addison: Yes,that’s unusual. And special. And the date itself? The most memorable first date ever?

Roger: Ever!

Susan: Everything that could go wrong went wrong.

Roger (counting on his fingers): the dyslexic printer, the parking ticket, the doggie do...

Susan: You’ll never forget that , will you?

Roger: (smiling) No dear (continues counting) The waiter spilling, the parking ticket…

Susan: The porn movie…

Roger: It wasn’t porn, it was artistic.

Susan: It was NC-17.

Roger: (holding her hand tighter) But, it all worked out. When you see how someone faces adversity, you know their character. And I knew Susan was someone special right away. All those events just confirmed it.

Susan: I felt the same way. Most guys would have become angry and accusing and defensive. Roger just took it step by step and we handled each problem together.

(They look into each other’s eyes again and Addison coughs, again. They turn to face the interviewer.)

Addison: So, the readers want to know how the second date was.

(Roger and Susan laugh together.)

Susan: Perfectly normal.

Roger: But perfectly wonderful.

Addison: And there have been more dates?

Susan: (nodding) Lots more.

Roger: Lots and lots more. We have a big date planned in June.

(Susan, glowing, holds out her left hand where there is a diamond solitaire on her third finger.)

Addison: Congratulations!

Roger: We’re at the age that we don’t want to wait. We want to start a family. We’ve had our starter marriages and relationships, at our age, we know the real thing when it happens and we don’t want to let it go away.

Susan: It’s been a whirlwind but wonderful. We’re very happy.

Addison: Well, that’s all we have time for. Thank you both for taking the time and congratulations!




THE BEST BAD DATE BY ADDISON JAMES

Brief synopsis

When is a bad date good? Susan Wells finds out when a bachelor auction leads to a date with handsome  Doctor Roger Lane, and a night to remember. What could go wrong? Everything. Will love find a way through this comedy of errors? Absolutely.


Book blurb:

 “It’s for a good cause.”

Dr. Roger Lane repeated this mantra over and over again as he was dragged onstage in front of several hundred screaming women.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Roger knew today was the day of the bachelor auction fundraiser for Saint Albans Hospital. Marge, the head of the Ladies’ Auxiliary, even sought him out specifically to participate--“Our own Doctor McDreamy” she was quoted saying).

Roger purposely arranged to be out of the hospital today, but there was an emergency surgery that required his attention. After the surgery Nurse Williams decided to show him a super secret shortcut back to the physician’s parking lot, which somehow managed to reroute him so that he ended up in the auditorium on the stage where hundreds of women were yelling, “Take it off! Take it off!”


addisonj_hat.JPG

Author Bio:

Addison James spent her childhood with her nose in a book, ignoring the natural beauty of her native Vermont. She went to the right schools, got the right jobs, and spent her early adult years being responsible and stable. Then, her long repressed urge to write emerged and she has been feeding it ever since.

Website:
http://addisonjwriter.com/


Twitter: @addisonj_writer

Author page on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Addison-James/e/B005EOQGWS

Author page on GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4959100.Addison_James

Google +: Addison James





Link to purchase book—book published December 16, 2011.
http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=284&category_id=69&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1%2F&vmcchk=1&Itemid=1

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Goddess Fish Party Pavilion: Why Wolves? Comment to Win

Goddess Fish Party Pavilion: Why Wolves? Comment to Win: Whenever I discuss my latest book, Sloane Wolf, people often ask me, Why Wolves? And I have to say, why not? Wolves are fantastic creatures ...

Goddess Fish Party Pavilion: Why Wolves? Comment to Win

Goddess Fish Party Pavilion: Why Wolves? Comment to Win: Whenever I discuss my latest book, Sloane Wolf, people often ask me, Why Wolves? And I have to say, why not? Wolves are fantastic creatures ...

Goddess Fish Party Pavilion: Shiloh Beck - First Kiss

Goddess Fish Party Pavilion: Shiloh Beck - First Kiss: Shiloh nearly leapt off the sill as his hand touched her knee. It took every ounce of willpower she possessed to remain seated and appear ...

Goddess Fish Party Pavilion: Interview With Shiloh Beck from Sloane Wolf

Goddess Fish Party Pavilion: Interview With Shiloh Beck from Sloane Wolf: Here is an interview empath Shiloh Beck did with author Kay Dee Royal: KDR ~ Welcome Shiloh Beck, star of Sloane Wolf, a paranormal roman...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wistful Wednesday

Holiday Hangover


So we remembered what we were thankful for over an overstuffed turkey and too many side dishes to be consumed in one sitting. We celebrated the birth of one of the most popular men in biblical history by giving gifts we couldn't afford, thereby setting up a debt that will ring us into the new year, which we welcomed with the world's oldest teenager and a large crystal ball. Now all that remains is remnants of the holidays in the form of turkey soup mom made and froze for later consumption, a Christmas tree that needs to come down but you lost the ambition half-way through the ball dropping in Times Square, and the total let-down when you realize the holiday season is over. 

I call this the Holiday Hangover. That lull between New Year's and the next excuse to buy something for someone you love because nothing says "I love you," like a gift they really don't need - you might recognize it as Valentine's Day. Do you get restless during that time? Bored? Listless? And what is it about us that makes us want to celebrate Every Little Thing with an expensive gift, a ton of food, and excessive drinking? Whatever happened to just Being Together?

I don't know about anyone else, but for me, this lull between holidays always gives me time to think and reflect upon the year just past, the holidays just celebrated, and makes me wonder if they were all worth it. Did I really have to make that huge turkey for five people? Did I really need the stress of worrying that I couldn't afford to buy gifts, or that I'd ring in the new year alone? In a word: No. But I did it anyway. Do I have any regrets? Only that I stressed so much about the gift thing. Turns out, everyone loved the gifts I made them. Will I do it all again? You bet.

Same time, next year.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Twilight Thursday

Farsighted (Farsighted Series, Book #1)

by Emlyn Chand

Review and Giveaway

Unfortunately for me, this was a dnf. I never really connected with Alex enough to want to finish the story, so instead of going on about that, I am going to let you decide for yourself with the following blurb and excerpt. Don't forget to comment for a chance to win a copy of this book. Please leave your email address as a way to contact you if you win.


BLURB:

Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still "see" things others can't. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider.

Alex Kosmitoras's life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival--an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to "see" the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.


farsighted-tourbanner.png


EXCERPT:

“Did Dad tell you? A new tenant moved into the old pharmacy next door.”

“Really?” I ask, not letting on I already know. If I feign ignorance, Mom’ll divulge all the details. “What is it?”

“It’s a psychic shop,” Her voice crackles with excitement like a fire that’s just beginning to burn. “The All-Seeing Miss Teak. Isn’t that cute? Miss Teak, Mystic. Ha, I wonder if that’s her real name.”

I laugh. “That is funny. Never had a psychic in town before. What’s she like?”

“Oh, she’s very friendly. Why don’t you go over and say ‘hi.’  I’m sure she’d like to meet you.”

“Okay, I think I will.” I’m incredibly intrigued, because first off, it’s a psychic shop—how weird is that?—and second, its presence made Dad super uncomfortable—also very cool. I waste no time heading next door to check out the scene.

As I step cautiously into the new shop, a recording of soft, instrumental music greets me. I can make out chimes and a string instrument I don’t recognize but for some reason reminds me of snake charmers. The smell of incense fills my nostrils, which explains the burning I detected earlier.

“Hello?” I call out into the otherwise quiet room.

Nobody answers. I walk in deeper, sweeping my cane out in front of me in a metronome fashion. This place is new to me, so I need to be especially careful while moving around.

Thump! Despite my precautions, I stub my toe on something hard, big, and made of wood. Just my luck to stub the same toe twice in one day. I reach down to press my fingers into my throbbing foot to alleviate some of the pain. Something teeters before rolling off of the chest and across the floor; the sound it makes indicates a curved path. Suddenly, the object stops. Somebody’s stopped it.

“Hello?” I call again.

“Hello,” a deep, feminine voice responds, placing more emphasis on the first syllable than the second.
“I- I’m sorry I knocked that thing over. I didn’t mean to…” I hope she’s not angry. Probably not a good idea to get on a psychic’s bad side.

“That wasn’t just a thing, it’s a crystal ball,” she says as she walks over, sending my blood pulsing through my veins. I sense her looking at me for a moment before she places the ball back on top of the chest.
“Can it see the future?” I ask, allowing my curiosity to outweigh my uneasiness.

“No.” After a pause lasting several beats, she continues. “But I can see the future sometimes when I look into it.”

“Oh, okay.” I tighten my hand around my cane and turn to leave. It may not be the most polite thing to do, but all of this hocus-pocus stuff is freaking me out more than I would’ve guessed.

The psychic lady speaks again, stopping me cold. “Don’t run away, Alex Kosmitoras.” She must’ve spoken to Mom earlier today. That must be how she knows my name.

“I’m not running away,” I say meekly. “I’m just going back over to Sweet Blossoms.”

“Don’t run away,” she repeats—this time she speaks louder and with more energy. “Don’t run away from your abilities. They are gifts.”

“What?” I ask in confusion. What abilities is she talking about?

“You already know. Watch. Listen. Be open to your gifts.”

I turn to face Miss Teak, but find she’s already gone, returning to wherever she was before I got there.
Is it safe to leave? I trail my fingers across the wooden box I ran into earlier; a thick coat of dust clings to the tips as I pull away. If this shop just opened, why is it already so dirty? I wipe my hands over my shirt to get the gritty substance off. Shivers rock my whole body. Something about this place is wrong, and I’m not sticking around to figure out what. Tapping my cane along the floor, I’m able to find the exit without knocking into anything else.


REVIEWS:

Alex Kosmitoras might not have a magic wand or vampiric strength and speed, but he is a totally swoon-worthy hero that any mom would be proud to let her daughter date.  -- Melissa Luznicky Garrett, author of Turning Point

You don't have to be psychic to know that Farsighted is going to take the world by storm. Vampires are so last year.  -- Kimberly Kinrade, author of Forbidden Mind

An epic battle of good versus evil that moves at breakneck speed to a stunning and totally unexpected conclusion.  -- Terri Giuliano Long, author of In Leah's Wake

Is Alex blind? Yes. Bullied? Yes. A victim? Absolutely not! Emlyn Chand expertly tackles high school bullying, making Farsighted both an entertaining and an educational read. -- Kevin Carey-Infante, Author of Bani's Dilemma

There's nothing blurry about Farsighted. With keen insight, Emlyn Chand creates complex characters that pop off the page. -- Lauren Clark, author of Stay Tuned

Psychic or not, you'll never see the end for this one coming! Emlyn Chand is pioneering "the next big thing" for YA.  -- Emily Reese, author of Second Death

*Winner of the Alternative Booker Award, 2011
*Winner of the WritersType First Chapter Competition, September 2011

BUY LINKS:

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Farsighted-Emlyn-Chand/dp/0983930805/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1
B&N - www.barnesandnoble.com/w/farsighted-emlyn-chand/1106607652
Smashwords - http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/91611

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Emlyn Chand Author Photo.jpg

Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb.

Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wistful Wednesday





 Book Description (From the Author's website)

16 year old Grace was reared in the wilderness. Her first pet was a bear named Simon. Her first potty, an oak tree. And, her first swing, a forest vine. Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her everything he knew about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. 

When Grace's dad goes missing on a routine patrol, unlike everyone in her sleepy mountain town, she refuses to believe he’s dead. After finding a Cheetos bag and stolen government file, Grace is convinced she’s one step closer to proving all the non-believers wrong.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from imminent danger by Mo, a hot guy who has an intoxicating accent and a secret. Grace has never felt a connection like this before, certainly not with her ex-boyfriend, the adoring, but decidedly unrugged, Wyn. 

After a few run-ins with the town's police chief, her father's partner, and some new evidence, Grace travels deeper into the wilderness that has always been her refuge only to learn that her father's disappearance is not a mere coincidence. 

Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to emerge from an epidemic that’s spreading like wild fire, threatening everything and everyone she’s ever loved.


My Thoughts:

Let me just say if I'm ever lost in the woods or need to find someone, Grace Wells is the girl I'd want by my side. For one thing, she knows the woods like nobody's business and for another, she never gives up. Even when it seems that everyone's against her, she just keeps pushing on to what she thinks is right. She won't let anyone stand in her way - even her own mother. And when the chips are down, she'd have your back. What more could you ask for?

Even though the protagonist of this story is a girl, I think this is the type of story that will appeal to boys as well as girls. Partly due to the way it's written - it's very straightforward, no flowery prose here - and partly due to the premise of the story. At times, Grace is all tomboy, hiking in the woods, fly fishing, tracking down clues to her father's disappearance, but when she meets a cute, mysterious boy in the woods, she's reminded that she is, indeed, a girl. Not a sappy, I'll-wait-for-the-guy-to-rescue-me kind of girl, but the kind who can go a little weak in the knees when kissed by someone she's attracted to without losing her ability to kick ass and take names when the moment calls for it. And believe me, she does, Not that she's superwoman and doesn't have any faults, because she does - the number one being that she tends to push people away from her, especially when they get too close.

Which brings us to Mo and Wyn. Sigh. Mo is the cute guy from the woods who turns Grace's world upside down and reminds her that it can kind of be fun being a girl. He's good-looking, mysterious, and tends to keep secrets - number one being what he's doing out in the woods all the time. He's there when Grace needs him, which she can only say about one other person in her life at present - Wyn. Grace and Wyn have known each other their whole lives, they have a history, and she may or may not still have feelings for her. And oh, yeah, he just might share them. But the path to happiness is never clear and this one has a fork in the road, one marked Wyn, the other marked Mo. Not a bad place to be, actually. How can she choose between them when each one gives her what she needs when she needs it?

There are a lot of twists and turns in this book that snake through it in the same deceptively calm way as the river that plays a powerful role in the story. Just when you think you have it figured it out, you will be proven wrong. It kept me guessing all the way to the end and even then, I was taken by surprise. I won't spoil it here, but let's just say, it sets up nicely for a sequel. Although some major questions are answered, other aren't and they will keep you wondering what will happen next long after the book is done.

Final verdict: A unique story told with skill that will appeal to anyone who enjoys mystery, adventure and a kickass heroine.


(ebook provided by author for review)