~*Krissys Bookshelf Reviews*~

 

 

 

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Face the Flames (Sugarland Blue #6) by Jo Davis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The author of "Bring the Heat "returns to Sugarland, where a firefighter from Station Five will face the dangers in risking his heart...


A near-fatal accident left firefighter/paramedic Clay Montana with devastating injuries. Now, after a year-long recovery, Clay is focused on one thing: getting his body back to form, so he can return to the job he loves.

 

And then a chance meeting with a fiery redhead changes his life...


Detective Melissa Ryan may be the new cop on the block, but she s no stranger to Sugarland.

It s where she lived with her violent, criminal uncle a man she needs to see behind bars.

 

But when she meets Clay at a crime scene, the down-but-far-from-out firefighter makes her rethink her priorities.


Getting close to Clay is intoxicating, but Melissa must keep her wits about her if she s to protect them from a man with deadly intentions

 

 

 

 

 

I'm going to blame the rating on myself... between this book and what was going on in my life at the time I was reading it, the book wound up falling by the way side. Apologies to the author but it just couldn't hold my attention.

 

 

Jo Davis

 

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004

 

 

 
 
 
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Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a print copy. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a print copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley Publishing.

 

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Smoky Mountain Raine, (Smoky Mountain Escapes #3) by Madison Sevier

Smoky Mountain Raine (Smoky Mountain Escapes Book 3) - Madison Sevier

 

 

 

 

 

Kallie and Hank are all set and ready to have their baby in a few weeks.

However, Hank needs to go on a research trip with their longtime friend and firefighter, Mitch Larke.

While Hank is higher up in the mountains with Mitch, the unthinkable happens-- A fierce storm with gusty winds reignites the smoldering embers at the Chimney Tops.

Kallie is stuck at home alone with no way to escape the fires roaring across the Smokies.
Will he and Mitch get away from the Chimney Tops in time?
Will Hank make it home to save his wife and unborn child from the fires roaring through their mountain home?
It'll take more than a miracle to save them this time.

 

 

 

 

Readers find out why the title is so appropriate, and I absolutely love it.

I want to thank Madison for the beautiful acknowledgment. I love it.

 

 

I felt Madison's depiction of becoming a mother was rather insightful, emotional and quite hilarious at times. An experience she so well creates lending on her personal life as a mother I am sure.

Smoky Mountain Raine is one of Sevier's best developed and detailed books. She has really expanded her range both in the world and cast she has created capturing and bringing to life her characters better and more vivid than ever.

I have to mention Penelope the PG - I could not stop laughing. I swear one of the things I love most about her writing is how honestly comical she is. I love her sense of humor its fabulous.

In connection with this I would totally love if Madison wrote a novella tied to this book. "Kallies Guide For Other Unicorns." Seriously. I think it would be great. What mother to be wouldn't love an honest realistic view of pregnancy from her perspective? I would.

I really enjoyed seeing Kallie as a mother to be. She speaks to so many women in her position or those who have been. Its worth the read whether you are a parent or not as a woman this really tugs the heart strings.

Also needs mentioning is her marriage with Hank. Coming into this stage of their lives experiencing the good and the bad together, the happy and the scary. Makes it all the more wonderful for me as a reader.

 Smoky Mountain Raine has it all. Love, hope, comedy, romance, steam, fear, excitement. A full tornado of emotions.

I would like to see Madison exploring a romance series with a team of firemen at the head. How hot would that be? Pardon the pun but I know she'd blaze the pages.

Back to Smoky Mountain though I enjoyed getting a back seat as it were on Hanks research - in a strange way it made me feel closer to Madison as a writer which I enjoyed.

Smoky Mountain Raine will call to all women from all walks of life.

I loved that Madison was realistic about her characters struggles in life, both in work, marriage, and personal lives and feelings. It makes her cast so much more real and relatable because even in romance nothing is always perfect all the time and I like that.

Leaning on current tragedy with the forest fires going on its sad how a moment of forgetfulness, humans or nature, ignorance or vindictiveness can devastate so many others lives and do so much damage. However Madison also speaks to the resilience of human nature that they can overcome anything.

I felt so bad for Mitch and Rin on so many levels.

Life and relationships aren't easy. It can bring you love and it can bring you heartache, but even love can be overwhelming even with the burdens of everyday life accompanying it.

Sometimes you can lose yourself and find it hard to find your way back so you lose touch with the one you love as well.

I was really glad that we got a final scene with them at the end because it made it all feel complete once it was said and done.

In the end I lived with Kallie, I journeyed with her, worried with her, celebrated, loved and cheered for her.

Smoky Mountain Raine is Madison's best!

 

 

 

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004

 

 
 
 
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Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review from The Author.

 

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Undiscovered (Amoveo Rising #1) by Sara Humphreys

Undiscovered - Sara  Humphreys

 

 

 

He's the man of her dreams
A long time ago, Zander Lorens was cursed to walk the earth stripped of his Dragon Clan powers. Every night, trapped in a recurring nightmare, Zander relives his darkest moment. He can hardly believe it when the dream changes and a beautiful young woman appears. Zander believes she's the key to ending his torment. Finding her in the real world is one thing, but how will he convince her of who-and what-she really is?

She's the end to his nightmare
Rena McHale uses her unique sensitivity as a private investigator, touting herself as a "human divining rod" and finder of the lost. By day she struggles with sensory overload, and by night her sleep is haunted by a fiery dragon shifter. Nothing in her life makes sense, until the man from her dreams shows up at her door with a proposition...

 

 

 

Cursed brothers redemption begins. First runner up: Zander.

It took awhile for any of the cast members to grow on me and its hard to explain but mostly the automatic you got no choice condition irked me more than once through the book. Both in Zanders case and in Rena's.

Zander knows what its like to have something put upon him without his say so, so when he constantly uses the same tactics on Rena it had a tendency to get on my nerves because really - hypocrite.

Despite that I did like Zander and Rena together as a couple and I did like the world building that Humphreys has created in this book.

I hit a snag at one point though because I thought this was the first book to the A- Rising series - which it is but it felt as if it were attached to another series I hadn't read yet. I'm not sure where it ties in however the author does not leave you lacking in information as its well detailed in what's going on. So regardless of whether you've read her previous books shouldn't matter. Although I would like to note I do plan on catching up on them because I have a feeling it matters in some form.

I'd like to note that dragon- shifters are hard to write on paper and bring to life so the fact that Humphreys really goes for it gains some level of respect in my book. I'd also like to note that she handles it well enough even though we don't get the whole dragon thing as much as I'd like I am keeping in mind this is the intro so I'm being patient.

I did appreciate Zander as a character because he has a lot of family devotion loyalty going on and that's endearing so I'm totally clinging to that. Plus he's sexy so points for him anyway.

Undiscovered is a fascinating read that I fully enjoyed. I highly recommend.

 

Sara Humphreys

 

 

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004

 

 
 
 
Krissys Bookshelf Reviews has a QR code for your phone!

 

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca.

 

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Someone to Hold (Westcott #2) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Hold (A Westcott Novel) - Mary Balogh

 

 

 

 

 

With her parents’ marriage declared bigamous, Camille Westcott is now illegitimate and without a title. Looking to eschew the trappings of her old life, she leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived. But even as she settles in, she must sit for a portrait commissioned by her grandmother and endure an artist who riles her every nerve.

An art teacher at the orphanage that was once his home, Joel Cunningham has been hired to paint the portrait of the haughty new teacher. But as Camille poses for Joel, their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead.

 

 

 

 

The blurb on Someone to Hold doesn't really do justice to what this book is really about and whats more is that the book doesn't really hold weight to what the blurb describes.

I'm willing to take some of the credit for not liking this installment so much in comparison to the last book but I couldn't seem to slip into Camille's headspace other than her life seemed to be a set of circumstances set by the decisions made by the others in her life. Camille was neither hot nor cold and never really stepped into the spot light despite being a little too self absorbed. However I couldn't really blame her for that considering what had been done to her. At the same time I felt like she really kind of needed to grow up which I don't really feel she did at any point in the book.

I still think Someone to Hold is worth the read just to be in and a part of the Westcott series which to my relief was much lighter on the family dynasty thing that got a little too long in the tooth the first time.

Mary Balogh

 

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004

 

 

 

 
 
 
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Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley Publishing.

 

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Etched in Bone (The Others #5) by Anne Bishop

Etched in Bone  - Anne Bishop

 

 

 

 

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave.

 

 

 

Etched in Bone wasn't great, it wasn't bad but it wasn't what I was expecting it to be. After the last book I think I was hoping for ... more. And not in the way that Bishop continually repeated the same information a hundred different ways from a hundred different angles but more with the cast and the plot.

The fact that she repeated so much information so many times created so many stall outs that I found myself completely bored because we'd already heard it already.

I don't need to know the various angles to extend chapter space when you run out of ideas. You established the trade food issues move on to the next thing or find a better plot.

I couldn't even invest in our characters love angle because I was already too withdrawn from the over all story as whole.

Etched in Bone could have been better served if the repetitious information had been removed and it had been written as a novella instead of a full novel. The pacing would have been more fluid and the interactions more organic instead of forced.

In the end Etched in Bone was okay but it definitely wasn't my favorite by any means. 

 

Anne Bishop

 

 

 

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004

 

 

 

 
 
 
Krissys Bookshelf Reviews has a QR code for your phone!

 

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley Publishing.

 

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Story Time: Jump, Frog, Jump! by Robert Kalan

 


 

 

 

 

"This is the turtle that slid into the pond and ate the snake that dropped from a branch and swallowed the fish that swam after the frog -- JUMP, FROG, JUMP!" This infectious cumulative tale will soon have the young frogs you know jumping and chanting with joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Kalan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Enjoy An Exclusive Sneek Peek of: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas!

The Hate U Give
Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends.

The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil by a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon, his death is national news. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name.

Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

 
LEARN MORE
 

 

ONE

 

I shouldn't have come to this party.

I'm not even sure I belong at this party. That's not on some bougie shit, either. There are just some places where it's not enough to be me. Either version of me. Big D's spring break party is one of those places.

I squeeze through sweaty bodies and follow Kenya, her curls bouncing past her shoulders. A haze lingers over the room, smelling like weed, and music rattles the floor. Some rapper calls out for everybody to Nae-Nae, followed by a bunch of "Heys" as people launch into their own versions. Kenya holds up her cup and dances her way through the crowd. Between the headache from the loud-ass music and the nausea from the weed odor, I'll be amazed if I cross the room without spilling my drink.

We break out the crowd. Big D's house is packed wall-to-wall. I've always heard that everybody and their momma comes to his spring break parties—well, everybody except me—but damn, I didn't know it would be this many people. Girls wear their hair colored, curled, laid, and slayed. Got me feeling basic as hell with my ponytail. Guys in their freshest kicks and sagging pants grind so close to girls they just about need condoms. My nana likes to say that spring brings love. Spring in Garden Heights doesn't always bring love, but it promises babies in the winter. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of them are conceived the night of Big D's party. He always has it on the Friday of spring break because you need Saturday to recover and Sunday to repent.

"Stop following me and go dance, Starr," Kenya says. "People already say you think you all that."

"I didn't know so many mind readers lived in Garden Heights." Or that people know me as anything other than "Big Mav's daughter who works in the store." I sip my drink and spit it back out. I knew there would be more than Hawaiian Punch in it, but this is way stronger than I'm used to. They shouldn't even call it punch. Just straight-up liquor. I put it on the coffee table and say, "Folks kill me, thinking they know what I think."

"Hey, I'm just saying. You act like you don't know nobody'cause you go to that school."

I've been hearing that for six years, ever since my parents put me in Williamson Prep. "Whatever," I mumble.

"And it wouldn't kill you to not dress like . . ." She turns up her nose as she looks from my sneakers to my oversized hoodie. "That. Ain't that my brother's hoodie? "

Our brother's hoodie. Kenya and I share an older brother, Seven. But she and I aren't related. Her momma is Seven's momma, and my dad is Seven's dad. Crazy, I know. "Yeah, it's his."

"Figures. You know what else people saying too. Got folks thinking you're my girlfriend."

"Do I look like I care what people think?"

"No! And that's the problem!"

"Whatever." If I'd known following her to this party meant she'd be on some Extreme Makeover: Starr Edition mess, I would've stayed home and watched Fresh Prince reruns. My Jordans are comfortable, and damn, they're new. That's more than some people can say. The hoodie's way too big, but I like it that way. Plus, if I pull it over my nose, I can't smell the weed.

"Well, I ain't babysitting you all night, so you better do something," Kenya says, and scopes the room. Kenya could be a model, if I'm completely honest. She's got flawless dark-brown skin—I don't think she ever gets a pimple—slanted brown eyes, and long eyelashes that aren't store-bought. She's the perfect height for modeling too, but a little thicker than those toothpicks on the runway. She never wears the same outfit twice. Her daddy, King, makes sure of that.

Kenya is about the only person I hang out with in Garden Heights—it's hard to make friends when you go to a school that's forty-five minutes away and you're a latchkey kid who's only seen at her family's store. It's easy to hang out with Kenya because of our connection to Seven. She's messy as hell sometimes, though. Always fighting somebody and quick to say her daddy will whoop somebody's ass. Yeah, it's true, but I wish she'd stop picking fights so she can use her trump card. Hell, I could use mine too. Everybody knows you don't mess with my dad, Big Mav, and you definitely don't mess with his kids. Still, you don't see me going around starting shit.

Like at Big D's party, Kenya is giving Denasia Allen some serious stank-eye. I don't remember much about Denasia, but I remember that she and Kenya haven't liked each other since fourth grade. Tonight, Denasia's dancing with some guy halfway across the room and paying no attention to Kenya. But no matter where we move, Kenya spots Denasia and glares at her. And the thing about the stank-eye is at some point you feel it on you, inviting you to kick some ass or have your ass kicked.

"Ooh! I can't stand her," Kenya seethes. "The other day, we were in line in the cafeteria, right? And she behind me, talking out the side of her neck. She didn't use my name, but I know she was talking 'bout me, saying I tried to get with DeVante."

"For real? " I say what I'm supposed to.

"Uh-huh. I don't want him."

"I know." Honestly? I don't know who DeVante is. "So what did you do? "

"What you think I did? I turned around and asked if she had a problem with me. Ol' trick, gon' say, 'I wasn't even talking about you,' knowing she was! You're so lucky you go to that white-people school and don't have to deal with hoes like that."

Ain't this some shit? Not even five minutes ago, I was stuck-up because I go to Williamson. Now I'm lucky? "Trust me, my school has hoes too. Hoedom is universal."

"Watch, we gon' handle her tonight." Kenya's stank-eye reaches its highest level of stank. Denasia feels its sting and looks right at Kenya. "Uh-huh," Kenya confirms, like Denasia hears her. "Watch."

"Hold up. We? That's why you begged me to come to this party? So you can have a tag team partner? "

She has the nerve to look offended. "It ain't like you had nothing else to do! Or anybody else to hang out with. I'm doing your ass a favor."

"Really, Kenya? You do know I have friends, right? "

She rolls her eyes. Hard. Only the whites are visible for a few seconds. "Them li'l bougie girls from your school don't count."

"They're not bougie, and they do count." I think. Maya and I are cool. Not sure what's up with me and Hailey lately. "And honestly? If pulling me into a fight is your way of helping my social life, I'm good. Goddamn, it's always some drama with you."

"Please, Starr? " She stretches the please extra long. Too long. "This what I'm thinking. We wait until she get away from DeVante, right? And then we . . ."

My phone vibrates against my thigh, and I glance at the screen. Since I've ignored his calls, Chris texts me instead.

Can we talk?

I didn't mean for it to go like that.

Of course he didn't. He meant for it to go a whole different way yesterday, which is the problem. I slip the phone in my pocket. I'm not sure what I wanna say, but I'd rather deal with him later.

"Kenya!" somebody shouts.

This big, light-skinned girl with bone-straight hair moves through the crowd toward us. A tall boy with a black-and-blond Fro-hawk follows her. They both give Kenya hugs and talk about how cute she looks. I'm not even here.

"Why you ain't tell me you was coming? " the girl says, and sticks her thumb in her mouth. She's got an overbite from doing that too. "You could've rode with us."

"Nah, girl. I had to go get Starr," Kenya says. "We walked here together."

That's when they notice me, standing not even half a foot from Kenya.

The guy squints as he gives me a quick once-over. He frowns for a hot second, but I notice it. "Ain't you Big Mav's daughter who work in the store?"

See? People act like that's the name on my birth certificate. "Yeah, that's me."

"Ohhh!" the girl says. "I knew you looked familiar. We were in third grade together. Ms. Bridges's class. I sat behind you."

"Oh." I know this is the moment I'm supposed to remember her, but I don't. I guess Kenya was right—I really don't know anybody. Their faces are familiar, but you don't get names and life stories when you're bagging folks' groceries.

I can lie though. "Yeah, I remember you."

"Girl, quit lying," the guy says. "You know you don't know her ass."

"'Why you always lying? '" Kenya and the girl sing together. The guy joins in, and they all bust out laughing.

"Bianca and Chance, be nice," Kenya says. "This Starr's first party. Her folks don't let her go nowhere."

I cut her a side-eye. "I go to parties, Kenya."

"Have y'all seen her at any parties 'round here? " Kenya asks them.

"Nope!"

"Point made. And before you say it, li'l lame white-kid suburb parties don't count."

Chance and Bianca snicker. Damn, I wish this hoodie could swallow me up somehow.

"I bet they be doing Molly and shit, don't they? " Chance asks me. "White kids love popping pills."

"And listening to Taylor Swift," Bianca adds, talking around her thumb.

Okay, that's somewhat true, but I'm not telling them that. "Nah, actually their parties are pretty dope," I say. "One time, this boy had J. Cole perform at his birthday party."

"Damn. For real? " Chance asks. "Shiiit. Bitch, next time invite me. I'll party with them white kids."

"Anyway," Kenya says loudly. "We were talking 'bout running up on Denasia. Bitch over there dancing with DeVante."

"Ol' trick," Bianca says. "You know she been running her mouth 'bout you, right? I was in Mr. Donald's class last week when Aaliyah told me—"

Chance rolls his eyes. "Ugh! Mr. Donald."

"You just mad he threw you out," Kenya says.

"Hell yes!"

"Anyway, Aaliyah told me—" Bianca begins.

I get lost again as classmates and teachers that I don't know are discussed. I can't say anything. Doesn't matter though. I'm invisible.

I feel like that a lot around here.

In the middle of them complaining about Denasia and their teachers, Kenya says something about getting another drink, and the three of them walk off without me.

Suddenly I'm Eve in the Garden after she ate the fruit—it's like I realize I'm naked. I'm by myself at a party I'm not even supposed to be at, where I barely know anybody. And the person I do know just left me hanging.

Kenya begged me to come to this party for weeks. I knew I'd be uncomfortable as hell, but every time I told Kenya no she said I act like I'm "too good for a Garden party." I got tired of hearing that shit and decided to prove her wrong. Problem is it would've taken Black Jesus to convince my parents to let me come. Now Black Jesus will have to save me if they find out I'm here.

People glance over at me with that "who is this chick, standing against the wall by herself like an idiot? " look. I slip my hands into my pockets. As long as I play it cool and keep to myself, I should be fine. The ironic thing is though, at Williamson I don't have to "play it cool"—I'm cool by default because I'm one of the only black kids there. I have to earn coolness in Garden Heights, and that's more difficult than buying retro Jordans on release day.

Funny how it works with white kids though. It's dope to be black until it's hard to be black.

"Starr!" a familiar voice says.

The sea of people parts for him like he's a brown-skinned Moses. Guys give him daps, and girls crane their necks to look at him. He smiles at me, and his dimples ruin any G persona he has.

Khalil is fine, no other way of putting it. And I used to take baths with him. Not like that, but way back in the day when we would giggle because he had a wee-wee and I had what his grandma called a wee-ha. I swear it wasn't perverted though.

He hugs me, smelling like soap and baby powder. "What's up, girl? Ain't seen you in a minute." He lets me go. "You don't text nobody, nothing. Where you been? "

"School and the basketball team keep me busy," I say. "But I'm always at the store. You're the one nobody sees anymore."

His dimples disappear. He wipes his nose like he always does before a lie. "I been busy."

Obviously. The brand-new Jordans, the crisp white tee, the diamonds in his ears. When you grow up in Garden Heights, you know what "busy" really means.

Fuck. I wish he wasn't that kinda busy though. I don't know if I wanna tear up or smack him.

But the way Khalil looks at me with those hazel eyes makes it hard to be upset. I feel like I'm ten again, standing in the basement of Christ Temple Church, having my first kiss with him at Vacation Bible School. Suddenly I remember I'm in a hoodie, looking a straight-up mess . . . and that I actually have a boyfriend. I might not be answering Chris's calls or texts right now, but he's still mine and I wanna keep it that way.

"How's your grandma? " I ask. "And Cameron? "

"They a'ight. Grandma's sick though." Khalil sips from his cup. "Doctors say she got cancer or whatever."

"Damn. Sorry, K."

"Yeah, she taking chemo. She only worried 'bout getting a wig though." He gives a weak laugh that doesn't show his dimples. "She'll be a'ight."

It's a prayer more than a prophecy. "Is your momma helping with Cameron? "

"Good ol' Starr. Always looking for the best in people. You know she ain't helping."

"Hey, it was just a question. She came in the store the other day. She looks better."

"For now," says Khalil. "She claim she trying to get clean, but it's the usual. She'll go clean a few weeks, decide she wants one more hit, then be back at it. But like I said, I'm good, Cameron's good, Grandma's good." He shrugs. "That's all that matters."

"Yeah," I say, but I remember the nights I spent with Khalil on his porch, waiting for his momma to come home. Whether he likes it or not, she matters to him too.

The music changes, and Drake raps from the speakers. I nod to the beat and rap along under my breath. Everybody on the dance floor yells out the "started from the bottom, now we're here" part. Some days, we are at the bottom in Garden Heights, but we still share the feeling that damn, it could be worse.

Khalil is watching me. A smile tries to form on his lips, but he shakes his head. "Can't believe you still love whiny-ass Drake."

I gape at him. "Leave my husband alone!"

"Your corny husband. 'Baby, you my everything, you all I
ever wanted,'" Khalil sings in a whiny voice. I push him with my shoulder, and he laughs, his drink splashing over the sides of the cup. "You know that's what he sounds like!"

I flip him off. He puckers his lips and makes a kissing sound. All these months apart, and we've fallen back into normal like it's nothing.

Khalil grabs a napkin from the coffee table and wipes drink off his Jordans—the Three Retros. They came out a few years ago, but I swear those things are so fresh. They cost about three hundred dollars, and that's if you find somebody on eBay who goes easy. Chris did. I got mine for a steal at one-fifty, but I wear kid sizes. Thanks to my small feet, Chris and I can match our sneakers. Yes, we're that couple. Shit, we're fly though. If he can stop doing stupid stuff, we'll really be good.

"I like the kicks," I tell Khalil.

"Thanks." He scrubs the shoes with his napkin. I cringe. With each hard rub, the shoes cry for my help. No lie, every time a sneaker is cleaned improperly, a kitten dies.

"Khalil," I say, one second away from snatching that napkin. "Either wipe gently back and forth or dab. Don't scrub. For real."

He looks up at me, smirking. "Okay, Ms. Sneakerhead." And thank Black Jesus, he dabs. "Since you made me spill my drink on them, I oughta make you clean them."

"It'll cost you sixty dollars."

"Sixty? " he shouts, straightening up.

"Hell, yeah. And it would be eighty if they had icy soles." Clear bottoms are a bitch to clean. "Cleaning kits aren't cheap. Besides, you're obviously making big money if you can buy those."

Khalil sips his drink like I didn't say anything, mutters, "Damn, this shit strong," and sets the cup on the coffee table. "Ay, tell your pops I need to holla at him soon. Some stuff going down that I need to talk to him 'bout."

"What kinda stuff?"

"Grown folks business."

"Yeah, 'cause you're so grown."

"Five months, two weeks, and three days older than you." He winks. "I ain't forgot."

A commotion stirs in the middle of the dance floor. Voices argue louder than the music. Cuss words fly left and right.

My first thought? Kenya walked up on Denasia like she promised. But the voices are deeper than theirs.

Pop! A shot rings out. I duck.

Pop! A second shot. The crowd stampedes toward the door, which leads to more cussing and fighting since it's impossible for everybody to get out at once.

Khalil grabs my hand. "C'mon."

There are way too many people and way too much curly hair for me to catch a glimpse of Kenya. "But Kenya—"

"Forget her, let's go!"

He pulls me through the crowd, shoving people out our way and stepping on shoes. That alone could get us some bullets. I look for Kenya among the panicked faces, but still no sign of her. I don't try to see who got shot or who did it. You can't snitch if you don't know anything.

Cars speed away outside, and people run into the night in any direction where shots aren't firing off. Khalil leads me to a Chevy Impala parked under a dim streetlight. He pushes me in through the driver's side, and I climb into the passenger seat. We screech off, leaving chaos in the rearview mirror.

"Always some shit," he mumbles. "Can't have a party without somebody getting shot."

He sounds like my parents. That's exactly why they don't let me "go nowhere," as Kenya puts it. At least not around Garden Heights.

I send Kenya a text, hoping she's all right. Doubt those bullets were meant for her, but bullets go where they wanna go.

Kenya texts back kinda quick.

I'm fine.

I see that bitch tho. Bout to handle her ass.

Where u at?

Is this chick for real? We just ran for our lives, and she's ready to fight? I don't even answer that dumb shit.

Khalil's Impala is nice. Not all flashy like some guys' cars. I didn't see any rims before I got in, and the front seat has cracks in the leather. But the interior is a tacky lime green, so it's been customized at some point.

I pick at a crack in the seat. "Who you think got shot? "

Khalil gets his hairbrush out the compartment on the door.

"Probably a King Lord," he says, brushing the sides of his fade.

"Some Garden Disciples came in when I got there. Something was bound to pop off."

I nod. Garden Heights has been a battlefield for the past two months over some stupid territory wars. I was born a "queen"'cause Daddy used to be a King Lord. But when he left the game, my street royalty status ended. But even if I'd grown up in it, I wouldn't understand fighting over streets nobody owns.

Khalil drops the brush in the door and cranks up his stereo, blasting an old rap song Daddy has played a million times. I frown. "Why you always listening to that old stuff?"

"Man, get outta here! Tupac was the truth."

"Yeah, twenty years ago."

"Nah, even now. Like, check this." He points at me, which means he's about to go into one of his Khalil philosophical moments. "'Pac said Thug Life stood for 'The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody.'"

I raise my eyebrows. "What?"

"Listen! The Hate U—the letter U—Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. T-H-U-G L-I-F-E. Meaning what society give us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. Get it? "

"Damn. Yeah."

"See? Told you he was relevant." He nods to the beat and raps along. But now I'm wondering what he's doing to "fuck everybody." As much as I think I know, I hope I'm wrong. I need to hear it from him.

"So why have you really been busy? " I ask. "A few months ago Daddy said you quit the store. I haven't seen you since."

He scoots closer to the steering wheel. "Where you want me to take you, your house or the store?"

"Khalil—"

"Your house or the store?"

"If you're selling that stuff—"

"Mind your business, Starr! Don't worry 'bout me. I'm doing what I gotta do."

"Bullshit. You know my dad would help you out."

He wipes his nose before his lie. "I don't need help from nobody, okay? And that li'l minimum-wage job your pops gave me didn't make nothing happen. I got tired of choosing between lights and food."

"I thought your grandma was working."

"She was. When she got sick, them clowns at the hospital claimed they'd work with her. Two months later, she wasn't pulling her load on the job, 'cause when you're going through chemo, you can't pull big-ass garbage bins around. They fired her." He shakes his head. "Funny, huh? The hospital fired her 'cause she was sick."

It's silent in the Impala except for Tupac asking who do you believe in? I don't know.

My phone vibrates again, probably either Chris asking for forgiveness or Kenya asking for backup against Denasia. Instead, my big brother's all-caps texts appear on the screen. I don't know why he does that. He probably thinks it intimidates me. Really, it annoys the hell out of me.

WHERE R U?

U AND KENYA BETTER NOT BE @ THAT PARTY.

I HEARD SOMEBODY GOT SHOT.

The only thing worse than protective parents is protective older brothers. Even Black Jesus can't save me from Seven.

Khalil glances over at me. "Seven, huh?"

"How'd you know? "

"'Cause you always look like you wanna punch something when he talks to you. Remember that time at your birthday party when he kept telling you what to wish for? "

"And I popped him in his mouth."

"Then Natasha got mad at you for telling her 'boyfriend' to shut up," Khalil says, laughing.

I roll my eyes. "She got on my nerves with her crush on Seven. Half the time, I thought she came over just to see him."

"Nah, it was because you had the Harry Potter movies. What we used to call ourselves? The Hood Trio. Tighter than—"

"The inside of Voldemort's nose. We were so silly for that."

"I know, right?" he says.

We laugh, but something's missing from it. Someone's missing from it. Natasha.

Khalil looks at the road. "Crazy it's been six years, you know?"

A whoop-whoop sound startles us, and blue lights flash in the rearview mirror.

 

Enjoy An Exclusive Sneek Peek of: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth!

Carve The Mark
In a galaxy where everyone develops a currentgift—a unique power meant to shape the future—most benefit from their currentgift. But Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control.

Cyra is the sister of a brutal tyrant. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploit to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a weapon in her brother's hand: she is resilient and smarter than he knows.

Akos is protected by his unusual currentgift, but when Akos and his brother are captured by enemy soldiers, he is desperate to get his brother out at any cost.

When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

 
LEARN MORE
 

 

CHAPTER 1 | AKOS

 

HUSHFLOWERS ALWAYS BLOOMED WHEN the night was longest. The whole city celebrated the day the bundle of petals peeled apart into rich red—partly because hushflowers were their nation’s lifeblood, and partly, Akos thought, to keep them all from going crazy in the cold.

That evening, on the day of the Blooming ritual, he was sweating into his coat as he waited for the rest of the family to be ready, so he went out to the courtyard to cool off. The Kereseth house was built in a circle around a furnace, all the outermost and innermost walls curved. For luck, supposedly.

Frozen air stung his eyes when he opened the door. He yanked his goggles down, and the heat from his skin fogged up the glass right away. He fumbled for the metal poker with his gloved hand and stuck it under the furnace hood.The burnstones under it just looked like black lumps before friction lit them, and then they sparked in different colors, depending on what they were dusted with.

The burnstones scraped together and lit up bright red as blood. They weren’t out here to warm anything, or light anything—they were just supposed to be a reminder of the current. As if the hum in Akos’s body wasn’t enough of a reminder. The current flowed through every living thing, and showed itself in the sky in all different colors. Like the burnstones. Like the lights of the floaters that zoomed overhead on their way to town proper. Off-worlders who thought their planet was blank with snow had never actually set foot on it.

Akos’s older brother, Eijeh, poked his head out. “Eager to freeze, are you? Come on, Mom’s nearly ready.”

It always took their mom longer to get ready when they were going to the temple.After all, she was the oracle. Everybody would be staring right at her.

Akos put the poker down and stepped inside, popping the goggles off his eyes and pulling his face shield down to his throat.

His dad and his older sister, Cisi, were standing by the front door, stuffed into their warmest coats. They were all made of the same material—kutyah fur, which didn’t take dye, so it was always white gray—and hooded.

“All ready then, Akos? Good.” His mom was fastening her own coat closed. She eyed their dad’s old boots. “Somewhere out there, your father’s ashes are collectively shuddering at how dirty your shoes are, Aoseh.”

“I know, that’s why I fussed about dirtying them up,” their dad said with a grin at their mom.

“Good,” she said. Almost chirped it, in fact. “I like them this way.”

“You like anything my father didn’t like.”

“That’s because he didn’t like anything.”

“Can we get into the floater while it’s still warm?” Eijeh said, a little bit of a whine in his voice. “Ori’s waiting for us by the memorial.”

Their mom finished with her coat, and put on her face shield. Down the heated front walk they bobbed, all fur and goggle and mitten. A squat, round ship waited for them, hovering at knee height just above the snowbank. The door opened at their mom’s touch and they piled in. Cisi and Eijeh had to yank Akos in by both arms because he was too small to climb on his own. Nobody bothered with safety belts.

“To the temple!” their dad cried, his fist in the air. He always said that when they went to the temple. Sort of like cheering for a boring lecture or a long line on voting day.

“If only we could bottle that excitement and sell it to all of Thuvhe. Most of them I see just once a year, and then only because there’s food and drink waiting for them,” their mom drawled with a faint smile.

“There’s your solution, then,” Eijeh said. “Entice them with food all season long.”

“The wisdom of children,” their mom said, poking the ignition button with her thumb.

The floater jerked them up and forward, so they all fell into each other. Eijeh punched Akos away from him, laughing.

The lights of Hessa twinkled up ahead. Their city wrapped around a hill, the military base at the bottom, the temple at the top, and all the other buildings in between. The temple, where they were headed, was a big stone structure with a dome—made of hundreds of panes of colored glass—right in the middle of it. When the sun shone on it, Hessa’s peak glowed orange red.Which meant it almost never glowed.

The floater eased up the hill, drifting over stony Hessa, as old as their nation-planet—Thuvhe, as everyone but their enemies called it, a word so slippery off-worlders tended to choke on it. Half the narrow houses were buried in snowdrifts. Nearly all of them were empty. Everybody who was anybody was going to the temple tonight.

“See anything interesting today?” their dad asked their mom as he steered the floater away from a particularly tall windmeter poking up into the sky. It was spinning in circles.

Akos knew by the tone of his dad’s voice that he was asking their mom about her visions. Every planet in the galaxy had three oracles: one rising; one sitting, like their mother; and one falling. Akos didn’t quite understand what it meant, except that the current whispered the future in his mom’s ears, and half the people they came across were in awe of her.

“I may have spotted your sister the other day—” their mom started. “Doubt she’d want to know, though.”

“She just feels the future ought to be handled with the appropriate respect for its weight.”

Their mom’s eyes swept over Akos, Eijeh, and Cisi in turn.

“This is what I get for marrying into a military family, I guess,” she said eventually. “You want everything to be regulated, even my currentgift.”

“You’ll notice that I flew in the face of family expectation and chose to be a farmer, not a military captain,” their dad said. “And my sister doesn’t mean anything by it, she just gets nervous, that’s all.”

“Hmm,” their mom said, like that wasn’t all.

Cisi started humming, a melody Akos had heard before, but couldn’t say from where. His sister was looking out the window, not paying attention to the bickering. And a few ticks later, his parents’ bickering stopped, and the sound of her hum was all that was left. Cisi had a way about her, their dad liked to say. An ease.

The temple was lit up, inside and out, strings of lanterns no bigger than Akos’s fist hanging over the arched entrance. There were floaters everywhere, strips of colored light wrapped around their fat bellies, parked in clusters on the hillside or swarming around the domed roof in search of a space to touch down. Their mom knew all the secret places around the temple, so she pointed their dad toward a shadowed nook next to the refectory, and led them in a sprint to a side door that she had to pry open with both hands.

They went down a dark stone hallway, over rugs so worn you could see right through them, and past the low, candlelit memorial for the Thuvhesits who had died in the Shotet invasion, before Akos was born.

He slowed to look at the flickering candles as he passed the memorial. Eijeh grabbed his shoulders from behind, making Akos gasp, startled. He blushed as soon as he realized who it was, and Eijeh poked his cheek, laughing, “I can tell how red you are even in the dark!”

“Shut up!” Akos said.

“Eijeh,” their mom chided. “Don’t tease.”

She had to say it all the time. Akos felt like he was always blushing about something.

“It was just a joke. …”

They found their way to the middle of the building, where a crowd had formed outside the Hall of Prophecy. Everyone was stomping their way out of their outer boots, shrugging off coats, fluffing hair that had been flattened by hoods, breathing warm air on frozen fingers.The Kereseths piled their coats, goggles, mittens, boots, and face coverings in a dark alcove, right under a purple window with the Thuvhesit character for the current etched into it. Just as they were turning back to the Hall of Prophecy, Akos heard a familiar voice.

“Eij!” Ori Rednalis, Eijeh’s best friend, came barreling down the hallway. She was gangly and clumsy-looking, all knees and elbows and stray hair. Akos had never seen her in a dress before, but she was in one now, made of heavy purple-red fabric and buttoned at the shoulder like a formal military uniform.

Ori’s knuckles were red with cold. She jumped to a stop in front of Eijeh. “There you are. I’ve had to listen to two of my aunt’s rants about the Assembly already and I’m about to explode.” Akos had heard one of Ori’s aunt’s rants before, about the Assembly— the governing body of the galaxy—valuing Thuvhe only for its iceflower production, and downplaying the Shotet attacks, calling them “civil disputes.” She had a point, but Akos always felt squirmy around ranting adults. He never knew what to say.

Ori continued, “Hello, Aoseh, Sifa, Cisi, Akos. Happy Blooming. Come on, let’s go, Eij.” She said all this in one go, hardly taking the time to breathe.

Eijeh looked to their dad, who flapped his hand. “Go on, then. We’ll see you later.”

“And if we catch you with a pipe in your mouth, as we did last year,” their mom said, “we will make you eat what’s inside it.”

Eijeh quirked his eyebrows. He never got embarrassed about anything, never flushed. Not even when the kids at school teased him for his voice—higher than most boys’—or for being rich, not something that made a person popular here in Hessa. He didn’t snap back, either. Just had a gift for shutting things out and letting them back in only when he wanted to.

He grabbed Akos by the elbow and pulled him after Ori. Cisi stayed behind, with their parents, like always. Eijeh and Akos chased Ori’s heels all the way into the Hall of Prophecy.

Ori gasped, and when Akos saw inside the hall, he almost echoed her. Somebody had strung hundreds of lanterns—each one dusted with hushflower to make it red—from the apex of the dome down to the outermost walls, in every direction, so a canopy of light hung over them. Even Eijeh’s teeth glowed red, when he grinned at Akos. In the middle of the room, which was usually empty, was a sheet of ice about as wide as a man was tall. Growing inside it were dozens of closed-up hushflowers on the verge of blooming.

More burnstone lanterns, about as big as Akos’s thumb, lined the sheet of ice where the hushflowers waited to bloom. These glowed white, probably so everyone could see the hushflowers’ true color, a richer red than any lantern. As rich as blood, some said.

There were a lot of people milling about, dressed in their finery: loose gowns that covered all but the hands and head, fastened with elaborate glass buttons in all different colors; knee-length waistcoats lined with supple elte skin, and twice-wrapped scarves. All in dark, rich colors, anything but gray or white, in contrast to their coats. Akos’s jacket was dark green, one of Eijeh’s old ones, still too big in the shoulders for him, and Eijeh’s was brown.

Ori led the way straight to the food. Her sour-faced aunt was there, offering plates to passersby, but she didn’t look at Ori. Akos got the feeling Ori didn’t like her aunt and uncle, which was why she pretty much lived at the Kereseth house, but he didn’t know what had happened to her parents.

Eijeh stuffed a roll in his mouth, practically choking on the crumbs.

“Careful,” Akos said to him. “Death by bread isn’t a dignified way to go.”

“At least I’ll die doing what I love,” Eijeh said, around all the bread.

Akos laughed.

Ori hooked her elbow around Eijeh’s neck, tugging his head in close. “Don’t look now. Stares coming in from the left.”

“So?” Eijeh said, spraying crumbs. But Akos already felt heat creeping into his neck. He chanced a look over at Eijeh’s left. A little group of adults stood there, quiet, eyes following them.

“You’d think you’d be a little more used to it, Akos,” Eijeh said to him. “Happens all the time, after all.”

“You’d think they would be used to us,” Akos said. “We’ve lived here all our lives, and we’ve had fates all our lives, what’s there to stare at?”

Everyone had a future, but not everyone had a fate—at least, that was what their mom liked to say. Only parts of certain “favored” families got fates, witnessed at the moment of their births by every oracle on every planet. In unison. When those visions came, their mom said, they could wake her from a sound sleep, they were so forceful.

Eijeh, Cisi, and Akos had fates. Only they didn’t know what they were, even though their mom was one of the people who had Seen them. She always said she didn’t need to tell them; the world would do it for her.

The fates were supposed to determine the movements of the worlds. If Akos thought about that too long, he got nauseous.

Ori shrugged. “My aunt says the Assembly’s been critical of the oracles on the news feed lately, so it’s probably just on everyone’s minds.”

“Critical?” Akos said. “Why?”

Eijeh ignored them both. “Come on, let’s find a good spot.”

Ori brightened. “Yeah, let’s. I don’t want to get stuck staring at other people’s butts like last year.”

“I think you’ve grown past butt height this year,” Eijeh said. “Now you’re at mid-back, maybe.”

“Oh good, because I definitely put on this dress for my aunt so I could stare at a bunch of backs.” Ori rolled her eyes.

This time Akos slipped into the crowd in the Hall of Prophecy first, ducking under glasses of wine and swooping gestures until he got to the front, right by the ice sheet and the closed-up hushflowers. They were right on time, too—their mom was up by the ice sheet, and she had taken off her shoes, though it was chilly in here. She said she was better at being an oracle when she was closer to the ground.

A few ticks ago he’d been laughing with Eijeh, but as the crowd went quiet, everything in Akos went quiet, too.

Eijeh leaned in close to him and whispered in his ear, “Do you feel that? The current’s humming like crazy in here. It’s like my chest is vibrating.”

Akos hadn’t noticed it, but Eijeh was right—he did feel like his chest was vibrating, like his blood was singing. Before he could answer, though, their mom started talking. Not loud, but she didn’t have to be, because they all knew the words by heart.

“The current flows through every planet in the galaxy, giving us its light as a reminder of its power.” As if on cue, they all looked up at the currentstream, its light showing in the sky through the red glass of the dome. At this time of year, it was almost always dark red, just like the hushflowers, like the glass itself. The currentstream was the visible sign of the current that flowed through all of them, and every living thing. It wound across the galaxy, binding all the planets together like beads on a single string.

“The current flows through everything that has life,” Sifa went on, “creating a space for it to thrive. The current flows through every person who breathes breath, and emerges differently through each mind’s sieve.The current flows through every flower that blooms in the ice.”

They scrunched together—not just Akos and Eijeh and Ori, but everyone in the whole room, standing shoulder to shoulder, so they could all see what was happening to the hushflowers in the ice sheet.

“The current flows through every flower that blooms in the ice,” Sifa repeated, “giving them the strength to bloom in the deepest dark. The current gives the most strength to the hushflower, our marker of time, our death-giving and peace-giving blossom.”

For a while there was silence, and it didn’t feel odd, like it should have. It was as if they were all hum-buzz-singing together, feeling the strange force that powered their universe, just like friction between particles powered the burnstones.

And then—movement. A shifting petal. A creaking stem. A shudder went through the small field of hushflowers growing among them. No one made a sound.

Akos glanced up at the red glass, the canopy of lanterns, just once, and he almost missed it—all the flowers bursting open. Red petals unfurling all at once, showing their bright centers, draping over their stems. The ice sheet teemed with color.

Everyone gasped, and applauded. Akos clapped with the rest of them, until his palms itched. Their dad came up to take their mom’s hands and plant a kiss on her. To everyone else she was untouchable: Sifa Kereseth, the oracle, the one whose currentgift gave her visions of the future. But their dad was always touching her, pressing the tip of his finger into her dimple when she smiled, tucking strays back into the knot she wore her hair in, leaving yellow flour fingerprints on her shoulders when he was done kneading the bread.

Their dad couldn’t see the future, but he could mend things with his fingers, like broken plates or the crack in the wall screen or the frayed hem of an old shirt. Sometimes he made you feel like he could put people back together, too, if they got themselves into trouble. So when he walked over to Akos, swung him into his arms, Akos didn’t even get embarrassed.

“Smallest Child!” his dad cried, tossing Akos over his shoulder. “Ooh—not so small, actually. Almost can’t do this anymore.”

“That’s not because I’m big, it’s because you’re old,”Akos replied.

“Such words! From my own son,” his dad said. “What punishment does a sharp tongue like that deserve, I wonder?”

“Don’t—”

But it was too late; his dad had already pitched him back and let him slide so he was holding both of Akos’s ankles. Hanging upside down, Akos pressed his shirt and jacket to his body, but he couldn’t help laughing. Aoseh lowered him down, only letting go when Akos was safe on the ground.

“Let that be a lesson to you about sass,” his dad said, leaning over him.

“Sass causes all the blood to rush to your head?” Akos said, blinking innocently up at him.

“Precisely.” Aoseh grinned. “Happy Blooming.”

Akos returned the grin. “You too.”

 

That night they all stayed up so late Eijeh and Ori both fell asleep upright at the kitchen table. Their mom carried Ori to the living room couch, where she spent a good half of her nights these days, and their dad roused Eijeh. Everybody went one way or another after that, except Akos and his mom. They were always the last two up.

His mom switched the screen on, so the Assembly news feed played at a murmur. There were nine nation-planets in the Assembly, all the biggest or most important ones.Technically each nation-planet was independent, but the Assembly regulated trade, weapons, treaties, and travel, and enforced the laws in unregulated space. The Assembly feed went through one nation-planet after another: water shortage on Tepes, new medical innovation on Othyr, pirates boarded a ship in Pitha’s orbit.

His mom was popping open cans of dried herbs. At first Akos thought she was going to make a calming tonic, to help them both rest, but then she went into the hall closet to get the jar of hushflower, stored on the top shelf, out of the way.

“I thought we’d make tonight’s lesson a special one,” Sifa said. He thought of her that way—by her given name, and not as “Mom”—when she taught him about iceflowers. She’d taken to calling these late-night brewing sessions “lessons” as a joke two seasons ago, but now she sounded serious to Akos. Hard to say, with a mom like his.

“Get out a cutting board and cut some harva root for me,” she said, and she pulled on a pair of gloves. “We’ve used hushflower before, right?”

“In sleeping elixir,” Akos said, and he did as she said, standing on her left with cutting board and knife and dirt-dusted harva root. It was sickly white and covered in a fine layer of fuzz.

“And that recreational concoction,” she added. “I believe I told you it would be useful at parties someday. When you’re older.”

“You did,” Akos said. “You said ‘when you’re older’ then, too.”

Her mouth slanted into her cheek. Most of the time that was the best you could get out of his mom.

“The same ingredients an older version of you might use for recreation, you can also use for poison,” she said, looking grave. “As long as you double the hushflower and halve the harva root. Understand?”

“Why—” Akos started to ask her, but she was already changing the subject.

“So,” she said as she tipped a hushflower petal onto her own cutting board. It was still red, but shriveled, about the length of her thumb. “What is keeping your mind busy tonight?”

“Nothing,” Akos said. “People staring at us at the Blooming, maybe.”

“They are so fascinated by the fate-favored. I would love to tell you they will stop staring someday,” she said with a sigh, “but I’m afraid that you … you will always be stared at.”

He wanted to ask her about that pointed “you,” but he was careful around his mom during their lessons. Ask her the wrong question and she ended the lesson all of a sudden. Ask the right one, and he could find out things he wasn’t supposed to know.

“How about you?” he asked her. “What’s keeping your mind busy, I mean?”

“Ah.” His mom’s chopping was so smooth, the knife tap tap tapping on the board. His was getting better, though he still carved chunks where he didn’t mean to. “Tonight I am plagued by thoughts about the family Noavek.”

Her feet were bare, toes curled under from the cold. The feet of an oracle.

“They are the ruling family of Shotet,” she said. “The land of our enemies.”

The Shotet were a people, not a nation-planet, and they were known to be fierce, brutal. They stained lines into their arms for every life they had taken, and trained even their children in the art of war. And they lived on Thuvhe, the same planet as Akos and his family—though the Shotet didn’t call this planet “Thuvhe,” or themselves “Thuvhesits”—across a huge stretch of feathergrass. The same feathergrass that scratched at the windows of Akos’s family’s house.

His grandmother—his dad’s mom—had died in one of the Shotet invasions, armed only with a bread knife, or so his dad’s stories said. And the city of Hessa still wore the scars of Shotet violence, the names of the lost carved into low stone walls, broken windows patched up instead of replaced, so you could still see the cracks.

Just across the feathergrass. Sometimes they felt close enough to touch.

“The Noavek family is fate-favored, did you know that? Just like you and your siblings are,” Sifa went on. “The oracles didn’t always see fates in that family line, it happened only within my lifetime. And when it did, it gave the Noaveks leverage over the Shotet government, to seize control, which has been in their hands ever since.”

“I didn’t know that could happen. A new family suddenly getting fates, I mean.”

“Well, those of us who are gifted in seeing the future don’t control who gets a fate,” his mom said. “We see hundreds of futures, of possibilities. But a fate is something that happens to a particular person in every single version of the future we see, which is very rare. And those fates determine who the fate-favored families are—not the other way around.”

He’d never thought about it that way. People always talked about the oracles doling out fates like presents to special, important people, but to hear his mom tell it, that was all backward. Fates made certain families important.

“So you’ve seen their fates. The fates of the Noaveks.”

She nodded. “Just the son and the daughter. Ryzek and Cyra. He’s older; she’s your age.”

He’d heard their names before, along with some ridiculous rumors. Stories about them frothing at the mouth, or keeping enemies’ eyeballs in jars, or lines of kill marks from wrist to shoulder. Maybe that one didn’t sound so ridiculous.

“Sometimes it is easy to see why people become what they are,” his mom said softly. “Ryzek and Cyra, children of a tyrant. Their father, Lazmet, child of a woman who murdered her own brothers and sisters. The violence infects each generation.” She bobbed her head, and her body went with it, rocking back and forth. “And I see it. I see all of it.”

Akos grabbed her hand and held on.

“I’m sorry, Akos,” she said, and he wasn’t sure if she was saying sorry for saying too much, or for something else, but it didn’t really matter.

They both stood there for a while, listening to the mutter of the news feed, the darkest night somehow even darker than before.

 

Enjoy An Exclusive Sneek Peek of: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig!

The Girl from Everywhere
As the daughter of a time traveler, Nix has spent sixteen years sweeping across the globe and through the centuries aboard her father's ship. Modern-day New York City, nineteenth-century Hawaii, other lands seen only in myth and legend—Nix has been to them all.

If there is a map, Nix's father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place and any time. But now that he's uncovered the one map he's always sought—1868 Honolulu, the year before Nix's mother died in childbirth.

Nix's life, her entire existence, is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix's future, her dreams, her adventures . . . and her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash.
 

LEARN MORE

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer. I was in the crowded bazaar of a nearly historical version of Calcutta, where my father had abandoned me.

He hadn’t abandoned me for good—not yet. He’d only gone back to the ship to make ready for the next leg of the journey: twentieth-century New York City. It was at our final destination, however, where he hoped to unmake the mistakes of his past.

Mistakes like me, perhaps.

He never said as much, but his willingness to leave me behind was plain: here I was, alone, haggling for a caladrius with a pitiful amount of silver in my palm. Part of me wondered whether he’d care if I returned at all, as long as the mythological bird was delivered to the ship.

No, he would care, at least for now. After all, I was the one to plot our way through the centuries and the maps, the one who helped him through his dark times, the one who could, say, identify fantastical animals from twenty paces and negotiate with their sellers. Then again, once we reached 1868 Honolulu, he would have no need for navigating or negotiation. I was a means to an end, and the end was looming, closer every day.

But he never worried about that. I tried not to either; I tried desperately hard. Worrying did me no good, especially now, with the bird seller peering at me, as bright-eyed as any of his wares.

“Very rare, this bird!” The merchant spoke louder than the distance between us warranted; we were nose to nose across a stack of cages, but I couldn’t step back or I’d be swept up in the scrum of shoppers. “The caladrius will cure any illness, just by looking a patient in the eye—”

“I know, I know.” I’d read the myth in an old book of fables: the caladrius could take disease on its wings and burn it away by flying near the sun. The legend also said if your illness was incurable, the bird would refuse to look at you; of course the merchant hadn’t mentioned that part.

He crossed his arms over his chest. “Good health is priceless, girl.”

“I know that too.” I wiped my brow. The sun was panting in the sky, and the heat curdled the perfume of jasmine above the odor of sweat. I had to get back to the ship, if only for some air. “Please. It’s for my mother. She’ll die without it.” Normally I wasn’t above using a sob story to haggle, but it felt different when the story was true. In fact, she had already died without it, sixteen years ago. “My father would never, ever recover.”

The man’s eyes softened, but then the crowd crushed against my back, making space around a fat British officer; locals didn’t dare jostle the Company Raj. Distracted, the bird seller glared at the Englishman. “Please,” I said again, slightly louder, trying to add the gleam of charity to the tarnished rupees in my hand.

He sucked his teeth, wavering. “A bird like this is worth her weight in gold to a prince.”

“But the princes of India don’t have any more gold,” I said. “The British took it all, and they don’t believe in the myth of the caladrius.”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew it was the wrong thing to say. The man’s face hardened. Awkward, awkward. I scrambled for a way to backpedal. Between us, his wares beat their wings against the bamboo bars, singing for freedom like Orpheus in Hades. A hand touched my shoulder and I spun, ready to take out my vexation on this bold stranger, but I bit back the words. Kashmir had appeared like an oasis. “Hello, amira.”

“Let me guess,” I said. “The captain sent you here to rush me.” Under his careless hair, there was not a drop of sweat on his brow.

“To help you.” He gave me his most charming smile, then turned it on the bird seller as he poured gold into the man’s palm. “This should be more than enough,” Kashmir said, reaching over to pluck up the bamboo cage. Then he slipped his arm into mine and steered me away from the wide-eyed merchant. “Come, Nix. We have to go.”

I was more surprised than the bird seller. “Where did you get so much gold?”

“Oh, you know,” he said. “Around.”

We were halfway back to the docks when the shouting started.

Kashmir handed me the birdcage. “Don’t run,” he told me. Then he took off.

“Thief!” The Englishman was barreling toward us.

“Thief!” Kashmir had left a swirling wake in the crowd; I set off after him.

The treacherous street threw obstacles underfoot: baskets of locusts and pails of yogurt and blankets laid with ripe rambutan. I dodged past women in rags and women in silks, men in loincloths and men in uniforms. The birdcage swung from my fist and sweat stung my eyes. Kashmir was far ahead of me—or rather, I was falling behind.

I racked my brain for a solution from the stories I knew. Unfortunately, most of those stories were myths, so most of the miraculous escapes came about by the pursued being turned into a tree or a star or a bird or the like. I looked back over my shoulder; the Englishman was gaining. I clutched the birdcage to my chest and tried to summon more speed.

I broke free of the market, careening around a corner and bouncing off a donkey. Kashmir was standing on the wharf, waving me toward the ship. I skidded to a stop in front of him, and he took my shoulders, steadying me. “Why did you run, amira?”

“Why did you run?” I returned, breathless.

“So he would chase me! Yalla.Vite! Get aboard and go!” He pushed me along and I stumbled down the quay.

My father was helping Bee rig the sails, but when he heard the Englishman’s cries, he stopped and stared. Then he redoubled his efforts, calling out to Rotgut to cast off the lines as the Englishman loped nearer. Locals scattered, but Kashmir waited until I’d cleared the gangplank. When he started to run, it was too late.

The Englishman grabbed him by the collar of his thin linen shirt, his muttonchops quivering in rage. “You half-caste thatch gallows!” He drew a pistol out of his belt and pressed the barrel against Kashmir’s cheek. “Give me back my coin and I won’t shoot you where you stand!”

Kash didn’t bother responding; he made a chopping motion toward the ship, but we were already slipping the berth. I looked at my father in disbelief, but he met my stare with his ice-blue eyes. “He can take care of himself.”

Despite the heat, I shivered; if Kash had kept the caladrius, would I be the one left behind on the wharf? I set the birdcage on the deck and gripped the rail, gauging the distance to the pier, but then Kash shoved the Englishman’s gun upward. The man squeezed the trigger, and the bullet flew wide. He’d kept his grip on Kashmir’s collar, but not on Kashmir, who tore his shirt down the front as he pivoted on one foot and threw his arms back out of the sleeves. He left the man reeling backward with the linen rag in his hand and a bewildered expression on his face.

I ran to get a rope, but when I came back to the bulwark, Kashmir was nowhere to be seen and the Englishman was screaming from the edge of the pier, fumbling with his gun. I followed his outraged eyes to the stern of the ship, where Kash was swinging his leg over the rail.

“Stop the ship! Stop at once!” the Englishman said, appealing to my father as he tried to reload. “Your coolie is a thief!”

Kashmir put his hand to his chest in a gesture of injured innocence: Kashmir, who would make you laugh to steal the fillings from your molars. Then he ducked as the Englishman fired again, the bullet crunching into the oak of our mizzenmast. I stared, stunned for a moment, then dropped to the deck beside the birdcage, my breath ruffling the caladrius’s feathers.

The Temptation was a fast ship, so we were out of range by the time the Englishman had loaded a third shot. I clambered to my feet, my hair plastered to my cheeks and my ears ringing. Kashmir was no worse for wear, despite his lost shirt. His golden skin shone, flushed with exertion, and, I suppose, victory. He caught my eye, and I turned away.

“You’re blushing,” he said.

I heard the amusement in his voice. “It’s the heat.”

“What a rush!” My father passed the wheel off to Bee and came trotting down the stairs to the main deck. He picked up the cage, peering inside. “My God, she’s beautiful,” he said, grinning. “Thanks, kiddo!”

“Thanks?” I yanked my shirt straight. “You should be thanking him.”

Slate popped a thumb up. “Thanks, Kashmir!”

I stared at him as he cooed at the bird. “You risked his life for that thing.”

“Thanks a lot, Kashmir.”

“He was nearly shot, Dad!”

He shrugged. “He wasn’t, though.”

“But he could have been!”

His energy faltered for a moment, like a candle burning low. Absently, he rolled up one of the sleeves on his loose cotton shirt, exposing the blue ink crawling up his arms; unless you knew where they were, the tracks were very hard to see beneath his indigo tattoos. Then his grin returned as he nodded to the cage in his hand. “Good thing we have a cure-all, then. Come on, let’s fill those sails! Where are we going next, Nixie?”

I wanted to tell him exactly where he could go next, but I bit back the retort. This was nothing new; my father wasn’t one to reflect long on his transgressions. He left that to me. “New York, 1981,” I said. “I laid the map out this morning. On your table. Didn’t you bother to look?”

He ignored my question. “But… every twentieth-century map I’ve ever seen was off a printing press.”

“It’s a hobbyist’s map. Hand drawn.” I drew myself up taller. “I bought it myself last time we were there.”

He didn’t look impressed. “Fine, great. But are you sure it will work?”

“Making it work is your job, Captain,” I said. “Until you teach me how to Navigate, of course.”

Although he made no answer, he stared at me a while longer before he spun on his heel and went to his cabin. Suddenly I was aware of the eyes of the crew, but when I turned around, Bee seemed very interested in the river ahead, and Rotgut was studiously cleaning his fingernails. Only Kashmir caught my eye. “And you,” I said.

“Me? What did I do, amira?”

“I was this close to getting the bird seller to take my price,” I said, but his grin widened; I wasn’t fooling him.

“Even if that’s true, you said it yourself. The English took all the gold. I was just doing a little redistribution.”

“It’s still wrong to steal, Kashmir.”

“What else should I have done?”

“Maybe leave the bird?”

He looked at me sideways with a twinkle in his eye. “Come, amira. You were thrilled when I put it in your hands.”

“That’s because cure-alls are rare in mythology, outside of healing springs. Not because I think we’ll actually get to use it.”

“The captain thinks we will. And you know how he is.”

“And how is that?”

Kashmir pursed his lips. “Very difficult to refuse.”

I folded my arms across my chest. “No argument there,” I said softly, staring at the water of the Hooghly. It was the color of bile. “Is the cargo secure?”

“You mean the tigers?” There was a lilt in his voice.

“Yes, the tigers, in all their fearful symmetry.” The big cats had been delivered to the ship in flimsy bamboo cages; Kash and Bee had been the ones brave enough to wrestle the cages into the hold. I actually was impressed, but with Kashmir it was usually best not to let it show.

“Last I checked, they were sleeping like kittens,” he said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a gold watch to check the time. Then he tilted it; water ran out from under the face. “Well. They should be fine all the way to New York.”

“Where did you get that?”

“Ah. This?” He looked at me from under his brows; if I hadn’t known better, I’d have said he was embarrassed. “He shouldn’t have called me a half-caste.”

I gritted my teeth. “You can’t blame that on the captain’s orders.”

“No, I can’t. This was just for me.”

“You know, if I had your morals, I could solve all my problems.”

He shrugged one shoulder and slipped the watch back into his pocket. “If I had your problems, I could afford to have better morals. I’m going to get another shirt. You have ten seconds to stop me. No?”

He went below, leaving me at the bow. We sailed past the tumbled ruin of Fort William, where the East India Company claimed a hundred English prisoners had perished due to Indian savagery in the dungeon called the Black Hole of Calcutta. Downstream of the city, fishermen pulled illish from the turgid river and children swam naked at the ghats. I piled my hair atop my head in an effort to cool down, but the breeze licked the back of my neck, hot as a giant’s breath.

Kashmir was right about the captain; when he wanted something, he did not stop until he had it. No matter what it cost. No matter who it hurt.

And what he wanted more than anything was to return to Honolulu, 1868. That’s why he needed the map now on offer at Christie’s auction house, and the money to win it.

The captain had never bothered investing in stocks, or betting on sports, or even opening a checking account. Slate spent much more time thinking about the past than the future, and it was always a scramble for money whenever he remembered it was useful.

So I’d plotted a route, pulling the maps from his collection. Cash for tigers was not the simplest course I might have charted, but I’d wanted to see as much as I could before the auction. After all, if Slate was right about the map of Hawaii, I might never go anywhere else again.

My mind skittered away from the thought. It was pointless—no, foolish—to worry; none of his Honolulu maps had ever worked. Better to concentrate on the task— and the journey—at hand.

As it was, I planned to exchange our cargo for U.S. currency when we reached our next destination, where the leader of a Chinese gang had a soft spot in his heart—and cold hard cash in his pocket—for the big cats. According to the newspaper clippings I’d read, he’d been known for using them to dispose of rivals.

After that, Slate could easily bring us to the auction in 2016; fifty-one years prior, the captain had been born in New York, and his erstwhile home awaited him just beyond the edge of every map he Navigated. The year 2016 was long after the gang leader had been killed in a shoot-out, but with the map from 1981, it should have been a simple matter for the captain to steer the Temptation through two centuries, from the Bay of Bengal to the waters of the Atlantic off the coast of Long Island. After all, though he wouldn’t call it home, he knew the city well.

Which is why it surprised me when the map of 1981 failed.

We were sailing toward the edge of the map of Calcutta under a sky so starry it looked sugared; the night would never be as beautiful after the Industrial Revolution.

Those stars dimmed as we slipped into the Margins of the map, the slender threshold between one place and the next, where India in 1774 ran out and the next shore appeared. Mist rose around us like the souls of drowned sailors, and the only sound was the muted hollow music of waves moving along the hull. Everything seemed calm, but the seas in the Margins were unpredictable—the currents mercurial and the winds erratic—and passage was always rougher the farther afield we traveled. And, very rarely, there were ghost ships in the fog, captained by those who had found the way in, but not the way out. I rubbed some warmth into my bare arms.

“Are you all right, amira?”

I made a face and nodded toward the mist. “The Margins always reminds me of purgatory. The place between worlds.”

Kashmir’s brow wrinkled. “Isn’t purgatory supposed to be hotter?”

“That’s St. Augustine’s version. This is more like the Asphodel Meadows in Homer. Although with fewer blood thirsty ghosts.”

Kashmir laughed. “Ah, yes, of course. I must catch up on my reading.”

“Well, I’m sure you know where my books are if you ever want to steal them.” I grinned as I turned back to the helm; just as quickly, the smile fell away. Slate had taken the wheel to steer us toward the far-off shore only he could see… but his face was full of frustration. He swung his head back and forth, he gripped the wheel, he leaned forward as if to get a closer look—but it was clear he couldn’t see our destination.

The ship rolled on the swells, and bronze light flickered in the fog, followed by the low grumble of thunder. Rain pelted the sails, and the mist writhed in a sudden gust. In the crow’s nest above our heads, Rotgut cursed; he must have been swaying like a metronome.

New York should not have been difficult, not like this. “What’s wrong, Captain?”

“I don’t know!” Slate wrenched the wheel starboard, trying to take us around, but the waves were pushing hard to port. Near the prow, Bee tensioned the halyard on the jib, the bell at her waist swinging as she moved.

The Temptation groaned, and the ship shuddered as a swell hit, followed by another high enough to send spray over the rail. Kashmir caught my arm and pulled me close to the mast. I held on, keeping clear of the boom; my fingers found the rough splinters of the bullet hole. A breaker washed the deck, the cold sea soaking my feet.

“Slow down,” Slate said. “I need more time!”

Kashmir sprang into action, racing up the stairs to the quarterdeck and grabbing the sea anchor. I followed on his heels and helped heave it off the stern. As the canvas caught our wake and dragged, another swell hit broadside and jolted us hard enough to rattle my teeth. This time Kashmir stumbled; I took his hand and grabbed the rail, bracing for the next wave, but it never came. The sea stilled once more as we ran right off the edge of the map.

 

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Very Buried Cheesecake on Kindle

Very Buried Cheesecake by Lyndsey Cole: Book 4 in the Black Cat Cafe cozy mystery series. This should be an exciting time for Annie with the opening of her new art gallery, but she’s stressed and distracted preparing for her first photography opening. With her friend Martha and her new employee, Camilla, working to get the gallery set up, everything seems to be on track. But when Annie stumbles on a body floating at the edge of Heron Lake, her worst fears are realized.

This book is Free on March 13, 2017

Kindle

 

Fava on Kindle

Fava by John Hazen: Fava shares the biggest story of Francine Vega’s career. One that could end her life…or start World War III. Francine is a rising TV news reporter in New York City. Despite her brains, beauty, and a growing following, she is stuck covering local interest stories. That is until her career literally hits the jackpot when the winner of a $450 million dollar lottery tells Francine that he is committed to using his new fortune to avenge his brother’s killing at the Pentagon on 9/11.

This book is Free on March 13, 2017

Kindle

 

Attrition of the Gods on Kindle

Attrition of the Gods by P.G. Burns: This book is suspense-filled, a work of fantasy, yet with enough elements to please conspiracy lovers who could easily find “clues” here to question everything. Get ready to question history, slide back and forth between time and place, and wonder if what you’re reading is in any way a precursor to what’s to come.

This book is Free on March 13, 2017

Kindle

 

Gangster Moll and Revenge on Kindle

Gangster Moll and Revenge by Karen Lewis: Cheryl’s husband is having an affair, but it’s not the run of the mill kind and it has dire consequences. He is a police officer and his girlfriend is a gangster moll notorious for donkey sex shows. His relationship with her jeopardizes a criminal investigation.

This book is Free on March 13, 2017

Kindle

 

Primal Deception: A Lacy Merrick Thriller on Kindle

Primal Deception: A Lacy Merrick Thriller by Robin Mahle: After a terror attack strikes close to home, FBI data analyst Lacy Merrick searches for the truth, but instead finds a cover-up so big, it could destroy a nation.

This book is Free on March 13, 2017

Kindle Nook Apple

 

Saving Texas on Kindle

Saving Texas by Nancy Stancill: Annie is investigating two deaths and joins forces with a Texas Ranger to get at the truth behind the campaign slogans. Her journey becomes even more difficult amid the sale of her once-powerful newspaper and wrenching cutbacks in her newsroom. Annie must murder, corruption, love, and betrayal with courage in the gritty, colliding worlds of politics and journalism.

This book is Free on March 13, 2017

Kindle

 

The Eyes of Abel on Kindle

The Eyes of Abel by Daniel Jacobs: A thriller about journalism. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Roger Charlin and Israeli Airlines security agent Maya Cohen become entwined in a top-secret race against time and powerful international interests.

This book is Free on March 13, 2017

Kindle

 

Reblogged from Yodamom Finds her Force:

YES !

Busy bee

Sorry I flooded today I've been caught up with my new job working at a popular bookstore. I haven't had a lot of time to do posts during the week. Love you guys.

Every Little Thing (Hart's Boardwalk #2) by Samantha Young

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content—her successful business, a close circle of friends, and her steady boyfriend…even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment.

 

The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine.

She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy.

Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence, and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.

Once Vaughn begins to realize he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he’s never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they’ve found together only comes around once in a lifetime.

 

 

 

Every Little Thing is one of those my enemy is my friend situations but its done in such a way that yes, while romantic how Bailey and Vaughn are drawn together I also felt as if he were simply one of those rebound guys in under the circumstances which made me not care so much for the developing romance between them since I didn't feel as if Bailey had enough time to really process or cope with what she'd gone through.

That aside I did like like them together when they were getting along.

I had some mixed feelings both ways but I did enjoy reading Every Little Thing and I did find myself partial to Vaughn who held my attention through the book.

If you haven't read the first book in the Boardwalk series I suggest you start there to really grasp their previous involvement and history.

 

Samantha Young

 

 

 

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004

 

This title will be available for purchase on March 7th, 2017!

 

 
 
 
Krissys Bookshelf Reviews has a QR code for your phone!

 

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a print copy. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a print copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley Publishing.

 

If any of Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews has been helpful please stop by to like my post or leave a comment to let me know what you think. I love hearing from followers!

Thank you so much for stopping by!
 

Wait for Dark (Bishop/Special Crimes Unit #17) by Kay Hooper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Clarity, North Carolina, the residents have fallen victim to an unfortunate series of events. Seemingly random accidents have taken the lives of several citizens in the small mountain town. But these deadly coincidences are anything but.

Something is on the hunt in Clarity, and the only clue as to what is a cryptic note given to the victims 24 hours before they meet their ends: “Wait for dark.”
 
Sheriff Mal Gordon knows how to handle his town, but he has no idea how to handle this. Hollis Templeton and her team from the Special Crimes Unit, including her partner and lover, telepath Reese DeMarco, are called in to investigate.
 
But while the SCU has prepared them for the unknown, the incredible evil stalking Clarity shakes the team to their core when one of their own is targeted. Now Hollis, the “cat with nine lives” finds herself facing death again.
 
And this time, not even her partner can protect her.

 

 

 

 

I am still amazed that after all these years all these installments that Hooper continues to write so many amazing books - one after the other and does it beautifully.

Harper continues to be a master of suspense and intrigue for me and I have been a fan of her writing for many years now.

Where most authors who are this far into a series tend to dilute and lose their focus and the readers interest Hooper maintains mine. From beginning to end I love Wait for Dark, I love its cast, I love that despite their struggles that intimacy wise that Reese is still a truly fantastic guy and despite her struggles sticks by Holls no matter what.

That kind of loyalty speaks to you - or me rather.

I think the only thing I didn't quite agree with was the new plot with Hollis, I'm not sure I'm into it yet but its an interesting turn. I'm curious to see how it affects events in later installments. Thank you Hooper for another great read.

 

Kay Hooper

 

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004

 

This title will be available for purchase on March 7th, 2017!

 

 
 
 
Krissys Bookshelf Reviews has a QR code for your phone!

 

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a print copy. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a print copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley Publishing.

 

If any of Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews has been helpful please stop by to like my post or leave a comment to let me know what you think. I love hearing from followers!

Thank you so much for stopping by!
 

Future Threat (Future Shock #2) by Elizabeth Briggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six months ago Aether Corporation sent Elena, Adam, and three other recruits on a trip to the future where they brought back secret information--but not everyone made it back to the present alive.

 

Now Elena's dealing with her survivor's guilt and trying to make her relationship with Adam work. All she knows for sure is that she's done with time travel and Aether Corporation.

But Aether's not done with her--or Adam, or fellow survivor Chris. The travelers on Aether's latest mission to the future have gone missing, and Elena and her friends are drafted into the rescue effort.

 

They arrive in a future that's amazingly advanced, thanks to Aether Corporation's reverse-engineered technology. The mission has deadly consequences, though, and they return to the future to try to alter the course of events.

But the future is different yet again. Now every trip through time reveals new complications, and more lives lost--or never born. Elena and Adam must risk everything--including their relationship--to save their friends.

 

 

 

 

I think Future Threat is such a trip. There is so much going on that I am grateful that the author makes sure to rehash some previous events so that the new establishments of power, weapons and travel effects including the stages of character processing, where they stand how they feel and what they are going through that I almost needed a fresh mental 'download' on what took place the first time around in the first book.

Although I would like to mention that reading the first book isn't completely necessary due to the fact that Briggs did a fantastic job filling in readers I would highly recommend it simply because there is so much going on - on so many levels that I believe the readers need it.

I love the cast in the Future Shock series, they are bright, they're alive and its easy to place yourself in their shoes. Even though I don't really think it was meant to be I do think that this series so far is an emotional read for me.

There is a dash of romance but it doesn't take the whole of the story which is nice because it allows the reader to really focus on what's taking place on a plot level than the character level despite it being so vital to whats going on.

If you haven't read this series yet pick it up, you won't regret it.

 

Elizabeth Briggs

 

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Krissys Bookshelf Reviews has a QR code for your phone!

 

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review from Albert Whitman & Company via Netgalley.

 

If any of Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews has been helpful please stop by to like my post or leave a comment to let me know what you think. I love hearing from followers!

Thank you so much for stopping by!
 

Story Time: The Berenstain Bears and the Truth

 



 

 

 

 

 

Come for a visit in Bear Country with this classic First Time Book® from Stan and Jan Berenstain. When Mama goes to the market, Brother and Sister play soccer in the house . . . and end up breaking a lamp! When Mama asks them what happened, they tell her a series of whoppers that just get bigger and bigger. Will they ever tell her the truth? This beloved story is a perfect way to teach children about the importance of honesty.

 

 

 

 

 

Stan and Jan Berenstain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Krissy's bookshelf: read

Reaper's Stand
Archangel's Shadows
To Love a King
Touch a Dark Wolf
Gray Bishop
The Viscount's Christmas Temptation
The Second Chance Hero
Loving Him Off the Field
Only Enchanting
Final Lap
Hunt the Jackal
Linger
Before You Break
Priestess Dreaming
Scandal And The Duchess
Hunters
Rival
Sci-Fi Nights: Alpha Bad Boys & Wild Girls of Futuristic Romance
Frayed
Love Bites


Krissy's favorite books ยป

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