A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.
If you want something done right . . .
When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there’s only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who’s going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell? Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it’s down to a battle of wits and will . . . . Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?
Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.
I haven’t been as active this month as I would have liked but for Wednesday Wish List this week I thought I’d introduce you guys to one of my most anticipated books of 2017. I am really excited for this because PIRATES! I also think Alosa has the potential to be pretty badass so that’s a huge plus in my books. I have to admit I don’t usually like cover changes unless the cover is exceptionally bad. When I heard the publishers had decided to redesign the cover, naturally I was skeptic about it. I needn’t have worried. This version is so much better and I love the darker background. I cannot wait to pick this beauty up once it’s out. Also thanks to the amazing Tricia I have a spare set of signed bookmarks that are up for grabs. They are pretty awesome and if you want to be in with a chance to win them, enter bellow.
“He has offered to help me, and right now I need his help.”
“Is it just his help, or are you going because you wish to be with him?” He leaned closer, face fierce. “Do you love him? Is that it?”
This book just broke me in the best way possible. Every time I read an Alison Goodman novel I am completely unable to start a new book for days after and The Dark Days Pact is no different. I have been eagerly anticipating this book since I first read The Dark Days Club and Alison Goodman did not disappoint. It was so good, in fact, that I went and reread it mere weeks after I finished it the first time.
The Dark Days Pact picks up where we left off at the end of the first book. Lady Helen is now officially a Reclaimer in training and a guest of Lady Margaret in Brighton. She is trying to navigate this new world and its politics to the best of her abilities and I loved seeing her struggle to reconcile her upbringing with her new role. I enjoyed her growth as a character and Goodman has done an amazing job with Lady Helen. The world she has managed to build in the first book was incredibly layered and rather unique and I was a bit worried the sequel might not live up to its predecessor. I am so happy that is not the case. The intricacies of Regency society are so well written within the paranormal context of her world I can truly believe there were Deceivers back in 1812.
What I love most about this book is how real Lady Helen feels. Despite her struggles and hesitancy at times (I would have liked to see her tell off the Duke of Selburn when he recklessly endangered everyone!) I truly believe her to be a strong heroine. The biggest surprise for me was her newfound friendship (sort of?) with Mr. Hammond and I found myself looking forward to their scenes together. Also, the romance!!! Can we talk about how deliciously torturous the romance was *sigh*. It is truly a testament to Goodman’s superb writing skills that the mere removing of a jacket can pack so much tension. This scene alone can leave the reader with an almost visceral need for the next installment, which sadly is more than a year away!
Title & Author:Enigma (Schrodinger’s Consortium #2) by Tonya Kuper
Release Date:July 4, 2017
Worst. Road Trip. Ever.
Escaping with Reid Wentworth should have been fun, but how can I enjoy it when I just (accidentally) killed someone, my mom and brother are in danger, and the Consortium is trying to enslave humanity? (Yeah, they aren’t fooling around.)So feeling something for Reid Wentworth was not part of the plan. Trying to help unite the Resistance against the Consortium means I can’t be distracted by hot boys.
The Resistance secret hideout isn’t exactly the rebel base of my dreams. A traitor there wants me dead, but we have no idea who it is. And with both the Resistance and the Consortium trying to control me, the only one I can trust is Reid. If we’re going to have any chance of protecting my family, controlling my unstable powers, and surviving the clash between the Oculi factions, I’m going to have to catch this traitor. By using myself as bait.
Enigma is the second book in Tonya Kuper’s Schrodinger’s Consortium and if you haven’t read Anomaly yet you should go pick it up ASAP. If you’ve already read it and are itching for more, you can now read the first chapter of Enigma, while waiting for the actual book to come out next summer.
Three days ago, I killed someone. A dozen times a night, and every time I close my eyes, I see his body convulse as the bolt of lightning I Pushed struck his body. I still see Santos’s face contorted in pain before he sinks under the surface of the water.
I opened my eyes after brushing my hair and swept my toiletries off the faux-marble counter into my backpack. Stepping out of the bathroom, I scanned the rest of the room for my belongings. My bra lay on the floor where I’d dropped it the night before, next to the paisley bedding. It had been beyond embarrassing shimmying that thing off under my shirt when I was right next to my hottie bedmate.
I plopped my backpack on the bed and grabbed my blue bra. It was still dangling from my hand when the door leading to the parking lot swung open and Reid smiled at me from the threshold.
Perfect. Of course, he walked in at this exact moment.
My face flashed with heat. I scrambled to stuff my garment into my bag, but the clasp hooked on one of my bracelets. Working the clasp off my bracelet took way more effort and time than it should have. The stupid thing was stuck. I peeked up at Reid to see if he was still looking at me. Wrinkles formed in the corners of his eyes as he coughed into his hand. He looked over his shoulder as he pretended to hack up a lung to camouflage a laugh.
Sharing the motel room with Reid, my trainer in charge of my safety, was convenient and safer. But him being my kind-of-sort-of-boyfriend also meant I was hyper-aware of personal stuff, like the time I spent showering or Reid catching me staring at him constantly. I mean, we shared a bed and were definitely into each other, but he’d never seen my bra before – on or off.
He’d now witnessed me wrestle with my undergarment – and lose. Which was both slightly embarrassing as his trainee and absolutely mortifying as his kind-of-girlfriend.
Reid looked at me, his brows pulling up in sympathy. He crossed the tiny motel room in three strides and stopped beside me. His warm hand touched my wrist as he studied the clasp and gently unhooked it from my bracelet. He caught my lacy bra before it fell to the bed.
Reid Wentworth was touching my bra, and my boobs weren’t even in it. What were the odds of that?
He’d worked my bra better than I had. How exactly had he gotten his bra-handling knowledge? The thought made me break into a full-body sweat.
Reid turned to face me. “I just turned in the room key. Cohen, my contact from the Hub, called while you were in the shower. The Hub gave us the green light to a safe house outside Flagstaff. We gotta pack ASAP and get on the road. They want us there before nightfall.”
I sat on the bed. “I’ll be ready in three minutes. I think I’ll miss this room, though.” We’d only spent one night, but something about it felt more secure than our two previous stops.
My bra was still in his hands.I yanked from him. “Thank you.”
“I’ll help you with your bra anytime. Just say the word.” He winked.
I wanted to hide.
“Wait.” He pulled his duffle to the bed. “You’ll miss the mustiness of a 70s motel in need of a major facelift?”
With the bra safely tucked away, I bent to lace up my boots. “I know, it’s weird, but I like this place.”
He walked into the bathroom and came out with his toiletries. “You like the wood paneling, the shaggy Muppet carpet, and an air conditioner that’s louder than my bike?”
I peeked toward the rattling air unit. Despite the jolting noise, the curtains floated gracefully above the machine like paisley ghosts.
The room seemed more hidden than the other places we’d stayed, nestled in the woods somewhere in New Mexico. We drove highways instead of interstates all the way from Florida to stay under the radar, but I still felt exposed, afraid someone would see us. Now the mountains and trees gave me a sense of coverage, of safety.
I tied up my other boot. “Yeah, it’s old, but I like it.”
Hiding, tucked away in a dark room, I could almost pretend I hadn’t murdered another human being. Being around people reminded me that I was dangerous, that I was an incomprehensible monster. Maybe I was keeping others safe if I was hidden.
A loud, deep buzz sounded, drilling into the recent memory of gunfire and weapons, of people dying. My heart paused and I dropped to the floor, kneeling behind the bed.
Reid strode to the bedside table where his phone buzzed, but his wide eyes watched me, worry etched on his face.
Duh. Way to jump to conclusions. Chill out, Josie. I forced myself to stand.
The phone buzzed again, vibrating against the wood and reverberating in my bones. I blinked and jerked, almost an involuntary flinch.
It’s just his phone. Get a grip.
But a buzz meant someone was contacting Reid, contacting us. And any communication was bad news at this point.
Reid stepped to me hesitantly, as if he were approaching a skittish stray dog. Understanding flashed across his face. “That will probably happen for a while. But it will get better.” He touched my hand for a moment, but it was enough to remind me that we were safe. For now. I relaxed my posture as I exhaled.
At my side, he positioned the phone so we could read the screen.
I stared at the contact information, a line of pound signs. The meaning of the symbols finally registered. The number was restricted and blocked. I read the first line of the message.
This is Meg.
My body was numb. I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes. They didn’t exist – or if they did, I couldn’t control them. I reread the three words.
My mom. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read on. Not just because I didn’t want bad news, but I didn’t want bad news that had anything to do with my family.
Reid bumped his shoulder to mine. “I didn’t think we’d hear from your mother this soon after her last message.” His voice was quiet.
It had been three days since I’d seen her face on her video message. Three days ago seemed like forever, yet it didn’t.
The phone buzzed again, making me jump, waking my body from a fear-induced paralysis.
Eli and I are redirecting to the Hub. 3 Founders need to be present to make executive decisions for the entirety of the Resistance. If the need arises, I have to be present. We should be there before you arrive. The Council is unaware there is a mole within the Hub. Use caution.
Hearing from my family made my heart burst with sweet relief because it was confirmation they were still alive and well. But fear squashed the celebration, turning my blood to cement.
I needed a minute to think. I couldn’t let my family go to the Hub with no way to protect themselves. I shoved the phone out of my line of sight, toward Reid. Instead of moving, he caught my hand and whisked me around to face him. “Josie, I know that look.” He let my hand fall. “If I take you to the Hub instead of the safe house, not only will I be disobeying direct orders, but it could get both of us, and possibly others, killed. You’d be giving the mole what he wants – you.”
He was right – the mole wanted me. And the best way to get to me was through what I cared about most, the people I cared about most. My family.
I took a step away from Reid, the back of my legs hitting the bed. I sank down onto the mattress.
I opened my mouth, but I couldn’t put two words together. My thoughts jumped from the mole, to my family, to the Consortium.
Reid stepped in front of me, his sober expression replaced with brows arched in concern. “Josie, I understand how you must be feeling—more than you know. But I’m supposed to keep you safe.”
I shoved off the bed. My knees buckled immediately and I rocked onto my heels, falling back to the mattress. Frustration clamped down on my emotions and I was ready to scream. I couldn’t look at Reid, but I held a palm up as I stared at the phone still in his hand.
He gave me his phone, the text message already pulled up on the screen. Then he sat next to me, making the bed dip under his weight. I read the message again.
What were my choices? If I went to the Hub, the biggest community of the Resistance, I’d be trapping myself with someone who wanted me dead. If I went into hiding with Reid, I’d still be hunted by the Consortium. Neither option was a vacation.
The muscles in Reid’s jaw flexed as his gaze traveled over my face. “I know your family means everything to you. Eli shouldn’t have to be involved in this.”
That was the part I couldn’t take. I let my head drop into my hands, slumping between my knees. The smell of bleach from the linens was almost comforting.
I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that Eli would be staying in the same compound as the mole, as the person who helped Santos try to kill me. Swallowing the ache in my throat and the sting in my sinuses, I willed away my tears.
“Josie.” There was desperation in Reid’s voice.
Clearing my throat, I slowly sat upright and lifted my eyes to meet Reid’s.
Reid looked toward the window. “The Consortium wants all Anomalies dead because we’re too dangerous. And since you’re on your way to being the most powerful Anomaly on the planet, you aren’t just the target – you are the freaking bullseye.”
I wasn’t what mattered. Eli would be in danger. I was the only one who could protect him. I was the only one who could protect a lot of people.
Reid stood and crossed the small room to shut off the air unit. A whole new world of muted sounds came to life. A mourning dove cooed nearby, two housekeepers spoke in hushed tones outside as they pushed a cleaning cart on the cracked sidewalk, and a truck rumbled in the distance. There were spaces in the new quiet, spaces with virtually no sound but plenty of room for thought.
My family was bait. Fury simmered in my stomach.
I shoved off the bed and stepped to Reid’s side, making him look at me. His eyes fluttered shut. “I wish I could just take you away from all this.” His dark lashes fanned upward as he opened his eyes. “But this is your decision.”
His compassion for me meant more to me than I would be able to convey to him. If this were a normal life and we were normal people, his care for me would’ve been all I needed. But our world was anything but normal. My safety didn’t matter, no matter how much he cared about me. My priority was keeping my family and others safe. If that put me in harm’s way, so be it. “You and I are more powerful than the mole and we’ll outnumber him. Statistics are in our favor. And he doesn’t get to use my family as bait.”
Reid shook his head and something flickered in his eyes. He tugged me against him, my chest colliding against his. My fingers dug into him, pulling him closer.
Terror trickled through my nervous system, seeping through every inch of me, infusing my body. “I need to go to the Hub,” I whispered. It wasn’t a want, it was a need. I needed to keep my family safe. And in doing that, I’d be facing my own mortality. But what scared me more was facing their mortality, Eli’s mortality. I’d already lost one brother.
Standing in front of the lone motel room window, our bodies bathed in rays of morning sunshine, to anyone watching, we would have looked like we were glowing from within, like superheroes. But superheroes wouldn’t let fear cripple them like this.
Reid let his forehead rest against mine and closed his eyes. “I don’t like this idea for a lot of reasons. But I know that’s selfish.” Blue eyes stared into mine. A sadness masked his face that I didn’t understand.
“Sorry,” I whispered.
He pressed his lips into a tight line. “Let’s go.” He squeezed me then turned to the bed.
“How are we going to find the mole?”
He zipped his duffle bag. “I have no idea, Josie.”
I plucked my phone from the bedside table, the varnish of the dark wood worn along the edges. His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. “You need to know something. We have to be different in the Hub.” He shook his head. “We can’t, uh,” his voice scratched. “We can’t do this in there.”
“What?” I let my gaze drop to the ground.
“Josie.” I couldn’t look at him until I was sure the sting in my eyes had dissipated. “Josie, look at me.”
That was my luck. My first boyfriend ever broke up with me on my birthday, then my long-time crush ended anything between us before we even had a chance. Two guys ditching me in under two weeks. That had to be some kind of record. For losers.
The shabby motel floor creaked under our feet as Reid dropped his bag, stepped in front of me. “We have to play by the rules in the Hub, and I’m someone who trains others to follow the rules. One of the rules? No trainer-trainee relationships. A romantic relationship between trainers and trainees clouds the trainer’s judgment. So we can’t do this.” He motioned between us.
Understanding why didn’t make the rejection any less painful.
Reid dipped his head, his dark hair falling forward, leaving an inch between our noses. “Make no mistake, I love what we have.” The deep line between his brows reappeared. “But going into the Hub means putting the mission before us. And I’m all for it. We don’t want anyone, including the mole, to know we have a relationship. It would be used against us. A relationship in the Hub could hurt you. I can’t put you in more danger than you already are. We can’t be anything more than friends for now.”
He was right, but that wasn’t going to stop the hurt. What we had wasn’t just a two-week whirlwind romance; this was a lifetime of growing a relationship. I couldn’t move. I’d lost my family, my friends, my home. I’d naïvely thought maybe I could have the one guy who understood what I’d lost and understood me.
A weird pressure bloomed in my chest, but I had to ignore it. I had to move and focus before tears fell and I was a puddle on the floor. Besides, we needed to get on the road. I backed away from Reid. “Come on.” Stepping to the bed, I flung my backpack over my shoulder. “We have to catch a mole. Before he kills my family. Or me.”
Reid snagged his duffle, his face drawn in worry, and opened the heavy door, squinting into the bright morning light. We secured our bags and our helmets, and I climbed on the bike behind Reid. I forced myself to move as though nothing was different, touching Reid when I had to without reservation. But everything was different.
Reid turned the key, revved the throttle, and the engine roared to life under us. Turning his head over his shoulder, his pale irises met mine. “Last chance. Left to Flagstaff or right to the Hub?”
My chest felt restricted, like I couldn’t pull in a full breath. “Right.” I gripped his waist, anticipating the turn.
He didn’t reply, but he moved his hand on top of mine for a second to squeeze it. Bits of asphalt spat away from the tires as we headed north toward the Hub in the Rockies. The wind whipped through my hair, a flame of red twisting behind me from under my helmet.
In Star Wars terms, I was Luke Skywalker and the Consortium was my own version of the Empire who wanted to wipe out all Jedi. We were off to join the Rebels – the Resistance in the Hub.
The white line on the road trailed alongside the motorcycle, as if it were holding our hands, guiding us. There was something comforting about that white line. Even if it had to break, it came back. That’s what Reid had been for me the last couple weeks – my anchor.
I tightened my hold around Reid’s waist, pressing my body against his back. The warmth of his leather jacket against my stomach combated the cool breeze that had picked up the higher we climbed into the mountains as our journey stretched late into the day.
An hour ago, he’d said we would be to the Hub soon. I hoped for my numb butt’s sake it was sooner rather than later. Despite the peacefulness in watching the highway disappear in the mirror, the growl and whoosh of each semi passing us in the opposite direction made me flinch. With each flinch, I was taken back to the moment I Pushed the lightning that killed Santos. My mind was stuck, replaying the image over and over. The white light had temporarily blinded me as it streaked down the oil-slicked sky to Santos, making me flinch. Santos’ body had convulsed, his face contorted in horror.
No matter what I had done the last few days, how often Reid had made me laugh, or how much we’d kissed late at night, guilt and shame had weaseled into my thoughts. The guilt-shame of taking Santos’ life wasn’t letting up. In fact, it was getting worse.
We rounded a bend in the road and my chest twisted as if someone were ringing me out like a wet towel. My left lung ached like nothing I’d felt before. Was it my lung, though? Or was it my heart?
Was this what it was like as Santos drowned? Had his lungs hurt and was his heart on the verge of explosion? Another picture of Santos coming after me on the beach, a sick and menacing smile on his lips, flickered in my mind.
Another eighteen-wheeler passed and the lightning flashed in my mind again. When the face came into focus though, it wasn’t Santos – it was Eli.
Fear gripped me and I beat both hands on Reid. That’s when I noticed my hands were shaking, and my heart rate matched the rhythm of the shaking, fast and sporadic. Frantic.
“Josie?” he yelled over his shoulder. I couldn’t manage words, I just beat my right fist into his back, holding on for dear life with my left arm, hooking it around his middle.
Reid slowed around the next curve then pulled off the road at a scenic lookout. I jumped off the bike before it came to a complete stop, flinging my helmet off of my head. The gravel crunched under my boots as I ran to the edge of the lookout. Leaning over the railing, bracing myself on my forearms, I hung my head as I concentrated on deep inhales and slow exhales.
Reid’s feet crushed the gravel as he sprinted to me. “Josie?” His voice was a higher pitch than I’d heard before and it cracked at the end of my name.
His warm hand landed gently on my back. “What’s wrong?”
I shook my head, unable to answer.
Santos was a traitor. Santos tried to kill me. I will not be the reason Eli dies.
A panic attack over Santos and this mole and imagining myself kill my little brother. At least that’s what I thought it was. I just needed the feeling to pass.
I held up a finger, continuing inhaling through my nose to the count of four and exhaling through my mouth to slow my breath and pulse.
Santos was a traitor. Santos tried to kill me. I will not be the reason Eli dies.
I wiped the perspiration on my forehead away with the back of my hand. Reid didn’t force me to speak, but patiently stood behind me, his hand still on my back.
I eventually straightened, letting out a long, pain-free sigh. Finally, I could breathe.
“Santos?” he whispered. I nodded and my heart squeezed again just hearing his name, but not as severe this time.
His hand slowly roamed up to my shoulder. “Are you okay?” That was a loaded question.
No, I wasn’t okay, but he already knew that. He’d held me every night when I woke screaming from nightmares. He’d listened as I rehashed the Consortium’s attack on the rooftop after the serum handoff to the vice president. He’d watched me grow up with my family and knew they were everything to me.
I touched my fingertips to his hand gripping my shoulder. I wanted to throw my arms around him and burrow my head into the crevice of his neck, the place I fit perfectly. I wanted to breathe in the smell of him, a clean, musky scent, and feel his warmth around me. Instead, I pulled my fingers away and nodded. “I’ll be fine.” The words came out quieter than I intended.
I finally raised my eyes to take in our view. A blanket of evergreens covered the mountains surrounding us. “This puts Endor to shame.” I wished it were Endor. No one would be hunting me there.
Crickets had begun their evening song, serenading us, filling in the silence. Moving forward, I leaned against the aluminum guard rail, the metal cool on my upper thighs through my jeans. I kicked a spray of gravel, rocks assaulting plants on the way down the side of the mountain into the gorge.
Reid stepped beside me, his presence simultaneously calming because he had been my support since this whole mess started weeks ago, yet jarring because he couldn’t play the same role anymore. I cleared my throat. “This is beautiful.”
His eyes focused on the mountains in front of us. “This is home,” he said.
“Welcome home.” I guessed this was my home now. Temporarily. Indefinitely. I didn’t know.
I stared at the place where the mountaintops kissed the watercolor sky. Pink cotton candy clouds battled shadows gobbling up the mountains. The sharp smell of pine reminded me of family camping trips – Nick and I racing through the woods and stony creek beds. The scent made me want to run, faster than I had ever before. Run to Mom and Eli in the Hub and find the mole.
Running to them also meant losing my relationship with Reid. As much as I wanted to get to the Hub for them, part of me didn’t. Reid was my older brother’s friend who I’d secretly had a thing for since I was little. He was the one person I’d always wanted. How was I just supposed to turn off those feelings?
Reid turned to face me, his hand reaching for mine, but he allowed it to drop before he touched me. He was afraid to get close. He was putting space between us to keep me safe.
I had to let him go. An invisible pain spread through me. I was a piece of glass struck by a hammer. A spider-web of cracks hid under my skin. I hadn’t thought being kept safe could hurt more than being in danger.
I closed the space between us, his face only inches from mine. His eyes shut for a moment as he sighed. “Josie.” The word was drawn out and whispered.
I traced his jawline with my forefinger. I had to get close. I needed it. I needed him. I shifted my weight forward to rise up on my toes, to touch my lips to his, but then I stopped.
I couldn’t kiss him when I couldn’t have him. I backed away, instantly feeling chilly.
A crease formed between his eyes. “We probably need to get going.”
This was it. We were done.
I turned to his motorcycle, but a Jeep had replaced Reid’s bike. Two weeks ago that would’ve freaked me the hell out, but not anymore. I opened the door of the vehicle and slid into the seat, limp and numb, sadness weighing me down. I stared out the windshield, focused on the mountain across the valley, but I wasn’t really seeing it. In my peripheral, Reid scooted behind the wheel and sat unmoving for several seconds. He hit the steering wheel with the palm of his hand, making me jump in my seat.
Reid turned toward me, his gaze intense. He swiftly slid his hand behind my neck and pulled me to him.
His lips crashed to mine and pressed my mouth open. The warmth of his hand cupping my face and the grip on my waist, as if I’d disappear, fused me back together, making me whole again. My fingers twisted in his hair, pulling him closer. When his tongue swept over mine, my soul ignited. Reid was the human form of helium, making me weightless, letting me soar. We kissed until we were both breathless.
I let my hands slip down to his chest, his heart thumping against my palms. “Reid,” I breathed.
His mouth hovered inches from mine. “That is how I feel about you,” he whispered, his breath tickling my lips. “I can’t do it. I can’t be without you. We’re stronger together.”
I pulled in a deep breath, thinking maybe I would fly away from the brief high of overwhelming joy. “I need you.”
He rested his forehead to mine. “You have me.”
He moved the hand on my waist to my jaw, his thumb sweeping across my cheek. “We can be together, but we have to hide it. It has to be only in private.”
He glanced down to my lips. “And I can’t wait until the next time I can do that.”
The mere idea of there being another time he’d kiss me with that kind of intensity heated my cheeks.
Reid sat back in his seat, started the engine, and gave me his flirty half smile I’d grown to adore. “Let’s go.”
I flipped down the visor and peeked in the mirror. Some tendrils of hair were wavy, some straight, and all of it completely out of control. My hair might as well be Captain Davey Jones’ tentacles from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
With the next blink I Pushed and a hair band appeared in my palm. I no longer felt like getting sick each time I Pushed or Retracted reality.
Inspecting my hair, I Pushed my strawberry blonde strands straight then pulled it into a ponytail. Every Push or Retraction came with a price. Each Oculi had a bank of energy that was limited and every manipulation of reality was an energy withdrawal. When the bank was empty, it was empty. Oculi were encouraged to not waste Pushes and Retractions on little things we could do ourselves.
I, on the other hand, was the daughter of the two scientists who’d taken the amplifying serum. My energy bank, like my older brother’s had, seemed to work a little different than other new Anomalies. I seemed to have endless energy. In fact, I had to use my energy, release some by Pushing and Retracting, just to take the edge off. My energy had grown in the last three days even, almost radiating off me at times. I’d only had these abilities for a couple weeks and I was growing more powerful each day.
“Is what I’m wearing okay?” I asked, checking out my retro Princess Leia tee and holey jeans.
“Yeah. You look…” He glanced at me as he drove and a mischievous grin slid across his lips.
“What?” My nerves were shot and we weren’t even to the Hub yet.
He shook his head, smiling to himself. “You’re fine.”
“Okay. I guess I’ll trust you on that.” Even though everyone at the Hub would know who I was, I wanted to make a good impression. Everyone in the Hub would have varying expectations of me, since I was the daughter of one of the founding families of the Resistance. Plus, my older brother had an Oculi degradation in the Hub, a rare consequence of observing reality into existence. Our observations traveled through the optic nerve to our brain. Sometimes our observations could randomly fry our nerves, which, could lead to degradation of the parietal lobe, cerebrum, and cortex. A possible side effect of this kind of degradation was a psychotic break.
“You can trust me.” His eyes locked on mine, this time not accompanied by a smile. “With everything.” He turned his attention back to the road, his profile dark against the waning sunset.
I was banking on that trust. I wouldn’t be able to do anything without it. “I need to make sure I have this straight. Right now our plan is to figure out a way to expose the mole, possibly with me as the bait.” I knew he didn’t like that idea, so I ignored his serious side-eye and continued. “This guy wants me dead, so he’s almost definitely going after my family. He may also try to take the Resistance down from the inside. Aaaand, we don’t know if he is working with anyone else inside the Hub, like he was with Santos.”
“You got it, babe.”
Anger seethed in my stomach as I watched thunderhead clouds billow from behind the mountain peaks. Energy buzzed in my fingers. This mole, this accomplice to my attempted murder, this orchestrator of the deaths of innocent people, didn’t know what was coming for him.
Tonya Kuper writes young adult science fiction and contemporary novels. She first fell in love with reading in elementary school, which eventually lead to earning a BA in Elementary Education and a MS in Reading Education, but she never thought she’d write a novel, let alone several. When Tonya isn’t writing, she teaches Young Adult Literature Writing Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, laughs as much as possible, loves music, and nerds-out over Star Wars, Marvel, Sherlock, and all things pop-culture. She lives in Omaha, NE with her husband and two rad boys.
For those of you who don’t know Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. Here are the rules:
Grab the book you’re currently reading
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
DO NOT include spoilers. You don’t want to ruin the book for others by including too much.
Share the title and the author so other participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like the teasers.
“The streets are empty, but I keep my head up. Evan always used to say that it wasn’t what you couldn’t see that you should be afraid of, but what was right in front of you in plain sight.” ~p. 106 Girl in Pieces* by Kathleen Glasgow
*Girl in Pieces comes out on 6th Oct in the UK, however, the US edition came out back in August and is available worldwide via Book Depository.
** BD also appears to have the UK paperback in stock at the moment. So if you want to get your hands on some early copies click here.
Not my vow that I’ll never be controlled or cowed by another again.
Not my belief that I deserve freedom just as much as any other person.”
I honestly cannot put into words my feelings about this book and this series in general. I would like to thank Kelly St. Clare for writing such an amazing story and for also entrusting me with an advance copy of her awesome book. Reading Fantasy of Freedom was a bittersweet experience for me. On the one hand, I was overly excited to find out what would happen with characters I’d come to love. On the other, I was saddened because this book signified an end to a journey. And boy, what a journey it was! I honestly feel like I have spent years with these characters not the weekend it took me to binge read the first three books. This was a testament to the quality of story I was dealing with here. It gripped me from the first few pages of the first book, where I tried to figure out what rotations/sectors meant, and it didn’t let until the last page of Freedom.
Fantasy of Freedom picks up right where we left off at the end of the third book. Olina is dealing with the physical and emotional repercussions of the battle at the end of Fantasy of Fire. Not only was she severely wounded but she also had to reveal herself to the entire assembly. We now get to see a different side of her, a more vulnerable one but not any less stubborn and I loved how ‘Olina’ that felt. I also particularly enjoyed the development of her relationship with Jovan in this book. Which brings me to JOVAN ❤
Now, full disclosure, I wasn’t sure about that surprise death in book one. That was still fairly early in my journey through the world St. Clare had built, so I was afraid it might have been purely for the shock value of it all. I was never happier for being wrong because I loved the slow build of Jovan and Olina’s romance. A romance that reached it’s apex in Freedom in a way that made me breathless and wanting more. It’s one of those romances that made you glad you stuck by the characters for however many books just to see the resolution. It’s also easy to guess that I absolutely adore Jovan. I know, I know. A lot of people do. He’s tall, strong, handsome and a king to boot, what’s not to love. My reasons, however, are completely different and I may or may not be in the minority here. Usually, alpha maleness annoys me. I don’t like dominance and there were times where Jovan was more than protective. What I loved though was how he managed to push through those feelings, realizing Olina’s strength and need to fight for herself and that is what makes him such an appealing character for me. There is nothing more attractive than a guy who supports a strong heroine, building her up instead of dragging her down with domineering possessiveness.
Apart from the romance, Fantasy of Freedom also deals with a few other loose ends. We finally get to learn who the killer from book one is and even that is enveloped in further treachery. This installment was incredibly fast paced due to the raging war between Osolis and Glacium that had been building up for three books. The action packed scenes were everything I hoped for and more. They were well written and were not used as a substitute for further character development. If anything, it helped characters such as Olandon, grow up even more and overcome their bias towards Glacium. We also learn who Olina’s father is and I am happy to confirm… I TOTALLY KNEW IT!! Overall this book was everything I wanted to see and St. Clare did not disappoint. With her excellent world building and knack for storytelling The Tainted Accords series are sure to stay with me for weeks to come.
For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire—a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two “uncivilized” nations remain perpetually at war. Most citizens tour the Continent to see the spectacle and violence of battle—a thing long vanished in the Spire. For Vaela—a smart and talented apprentice cartographer—it is an opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land.
But an idyllic aerial exploration is not to be had: the realities of war are made clear in a bloody battle seen from the heli-plane during the tour, leaving Vaela forever changed. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, she has no illusions about the true nature of the danger she faces. Starving, alone, and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home—but first, she must survive.
I have been waiting patiently (NOT!) for a cover reveal for this week’s WWL pick for what seems like forever now. Finally, FINALLY, the cover was revealed this week and I can show you both the cover and the book that has been plaguing me since I read the manuscript a few months ago. Just look at this beauty!!! This is seriously one of the best covers I have seen in a while and having read the book I can tell you this, it represents it PERFECTLY! I cannot wait to get my hands on a finished copy, which sadly won’t happen until January 2017. For now though I’d be satisfied if I can find an advance copy with the actual cover on it!
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.
I seriously doubt anyone actually needs to be introduced to this week’s Wish List book. I also doubt I’m the only one who’s counting the days until the release of Crooked Kingdom. I’ve read the sampler. I have read and reread Six of Crows so many times my trusty hardback is showing some signs of wear. Do I care? No. It gives it a slight vintage look that I totally dig.
I have pre-ordered Crooked Kingdom twice, actually. Once from Amazon so I could email the confirmation for the amazing pre-order goodies and once at the Strand, where I will be attending the launch party on 26th Sept (there better be some posters available or I WILL cry!). I’m so excited about this event I’ve marked it down in my work calendar!! Only 19 days left if you’re wondering. For now, however, you can join in the re-reading of Six of Crows on Goodreads starting next week. Leigh will be kicking things off with a video and will also be answering questions live. So dust off those Six of Crows tomes and join the fun.