Friday, July 31, 2015

Follow Friday

Friday Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer!  This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. 
This week’s question –

Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Perdita by Faith Gardner

Published: August 1st, 2015
Publisher: Merit Press
Pages: 224
Copy: Edelweiss
Summary: Goodreads

Granted, Arielle has a vast, excitable imagination. But she's not imagining how strange and out of control her life becomes after the death by drowning of her older sister's best friend, Perdita. Not only does this death echo the death of Arielle's own older brother, ten years before, it leads to dreams and visions in which Perdita seems to be reaching out to Arielle, asking for her help. The only other explanation—that Arielle's high-strung emotions have finally caused her to break with reality—is even more terrifying. A story that builds to greater and greater heights of suspicion and fear, Perdita is also a multi-layered literary achievement that leaves no emotion untouched.

Perdita was a surprise.  I was expecting a regular mystery, but there were depths to it that I hadn't counted on.  I didn't find Arielle to be a particularly likeable character, but her situation is somewhat unusual and I definitely wanted to get to the bottom of things with her.  Tex was another interesting character and his confessions about his sister, Perdita, were something of a shocker at first - no spoilers here though.

The tension throughout the book is not high, but it is relentless.  We readers know instinctively that something is not right, but have to find out what along with the characters and what happens to Arielle was a big surprise - again, no spoilers, you'll have to read and find out.

To be honest it was a really quick read and I ended up  enjoying the book. That is right up to the last page.  I HATED the ending.  I understood it.  It made sense. I know why Ms Gardner wrote it that way. But I hated it. Just saying.  A nice contemporary mystery for fans of the genre.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is

Summary (by Goodreads)

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…
Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.
Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.
When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…

This title sounds so exciting! I can't believe that I didn't post it earlier (the title came out at the beginning of July).  It is on my TBR list and I'll be finishing it this summer so make sure to keep your eyes out for the review!
- Christinabean

A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes

Published: June 23rd, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 368
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….

Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.

Both Christinabean and I are both huge fans of Morgan Rhodes' Falling Kingdoms series so it's a no-brainer that A Book of Spirits and Thieves is pretty high on our TBR lists.  I'm not sure if  Christinabean has managed to get hold of a copy yet, but I was first on the waiting list for our copy at work and I read through it in about a day and a half.

What to tell you about this book other than the fact that it's really good?  Well it's parallel story lines, which I always enjoy and the contemporary story takes place in Toronto, so that makes it an immediate plus for this Ontario girl (I can drive to Toronto in 30 mins or so and do, often).  Ms Rhodes has taken the landscape and immortal characters from her original series and has woven a new and complex story around them.

We have secret societies, magical brainwashing, out and out murder dressed up as being 'good for society',  nasty, nasty bad guys - immortal and from another world.  Tell me, what chance do we poor mortals have?  Well following Crystal in her search for the truth was engrossing and suspensful.  Watching  Becca and Maddox trying to solve Becca's dilema was a double-edged sword.  Getting to the end of the book was both a relief and an agony.  One problem solved, many more to work on.  

I am really looking forward to continuing with this side of the Mytica story, but since vol. 4 of the original series, Frozen Tides, doesn't come out until December 2015, it's going to be a while before we see any more of this spin-off, and that's a great pity.

Btw, did you know that Morgan Rhodes also writes as Michele Rowen?  I didn't until very recently, so I've decided to read a few more of her books under that name while I'm waiting. Not quite the same, but I'll take what I can get.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Published: May 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 337
Copy Provided by: Borrowed
Summary: Goodreads

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

There was something completely refreshing about P.S. I love you, Book #1 so I just had to dive into Book #2.  Lara Jean is so oblivious to subtle nuances in love but in the same respect, her innocence is so nice to see.  I thought that some characters from Book #1 would come back into her life again (Josh) and was surprised when he didn't.  Instead another old flame surfaces and getting in touch with him makes her question love all over again.

One of the things I like about this series is how Jenny Han talks about Korean culture during Chinese New Year.  We always hear about Chinese New Year and how it is celebrated in Chinese culture but I don't often hear of the traditions exercised in other Asian cultures.  

I like the way this series ended. There was no need for a third book and I was more than satisfied with how things evolved.  It was a heart-warming, feel good read.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received

This week I got: 

Summary (by Goodreads)

A spine-tingling debut about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in reverse as a teen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer.

Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.

When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup truck, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.

At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.

The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.

Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.

This sounded like such a thrilling novel that I had to go out and get it.  Look for a review shortly!
- Christinabean

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Guest post by Good Intentions author Pembrooke Sinclair

Today we are happy to have Pembroke Sinclair join us. Good Intentions is the third book in her Road to Salvation series that started with The Appeal of Evil and continued with Dealing with Devils.

Katie has been through Hell—literally—and discovered that it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be.  In fact, she kind of enjoyed it.  She got to be with Josh, found out about her past, and discovered who she wanted to be as a person.  Katie didn’t care that her actions went against social norms.  She was happy.

But things are changing—again.  Wes has come back into her life, and that can only mean trouble.  His presence threatens to unravel her new-found happiness.  She can’t allow that.  She won’t let him back in.  Yet, Katie can’t push him away. 
Thrown back into a state of confusion and uncertainty, Katie is once again forced to pick sides, and in the process, she may lose herself.

The Joy and Agony of Writing a Series
By Pembroke Sinclair

I enjoy book series. As an author, I appreciate and enjoy that readers get lost in my series. I love that they are invested in my characters and can’t get enough of their adventures. It makes me happy that they anxiously await the next book. 

Writing a series can be a magical and wonderful experience. I enjoy that the world is already set up and that the characters are already established. I don’t have to strain my brain coming up with new ideas, I can expand on ones that already exist.

The thing that (I hope) makes my series so wonderful is that I have fun writing it. I enjoy being in that world just like you do, but at times, it gets tedious. Sometimes it isn’t fun anymore. When this happens, I have to walk away. I have to work on something else. I have to take a break.

Writing a series can get incredibly exhausting. I have to spend a lot of time in this world and with these characters. I’m there for months or years, and I know waaaaay more about what happens than what is on the page. My brain is full of elaborate back stories. I know minute details about the characters’ lives and the history of the world. Sometimes these details are written down so they aren’t forgotten, but they aren’t ever part of the final story.

Keeping track of all this gets tough. And sometimes the characters don’t cooperate. Some days they don’t want to tell me their stories, or I get bored listening to them. Spending too much time with characters is like spending too much time with real people. We get tired of each other. There is some truth to the phrase “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” even with fictional people.

There’s also the added pressure of making sure the next book lives up to readers’ expectations. I want to make sure the details are just right, that I’m staying true to what was written before, and sometimes that means going back and rereading the previous books in the series. 

There’s a need to get the book out in a timely fashion so that interest isn’t lost. Nerves get frazzled when I feel like I’m falling behind—even when I don’t have a deadline.  When this happens, it makes it hard to continue to write.  It becomes difficult to overcome the fear that I’m going to fail, that people are going to be angry with the book.

There’s a moment when I just want to scream and tear my hair out, but then I take a deep breath and step back.  I remind myself that this is supposed to be fun.  And if I’m not having fun, then it’s not worth doing.  

Author Bio:
Pembroke Sinclair is a literary jack of all trades, playing her hand at multiple genres. She has written an eclectic mix of fiction ranging from horror to sci-fi and even some westerns. Born in Rock Springs, Wyoming--the home of 56 nationalities--it is no wonder Pembroke ended up so creatively diverse. Her fascination with the notions of good and evil, demons and angels, and how the lines blur have inspired her writing. Pembroke lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband, two spirited boys, a black lab named Ryder, and a rescue kitty named Alia, who happens to be the sweetest, most adorable kitty in the world! She cannot say no to dessert, orange soda, or cinnamon. She loves rats and tatts and rock and roll and wants to be an alien queen when she grows up.
You can learn more about Pembroke Sinclair by visiting her at

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Once Upon a Scandal by Jule LeMense

Published: June 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Copy: Author through Word Slinger
Summary: Goodreads

Lady Jane Fitzsimmons won our hearts in Once Upon a Wager … and now her story is full of even more delightful twists and turns!

Caught up in a scandal of her father’s making, Jane is now an outcast in the society that once prized her refinement. When Lord Benjamin Marworth offers to help redeem her good name, she leaps at the chance.

Too bad his plan requires her very public demise.

To the ton, Benjamin is a dandy and a rake, but that’s merely a convenient disguise to spy for the Crown. Can he save both England and Jane by faking her death and reincarnating her as a French cousin who can ferret out the stolen war secrets he needs? Or will she discover Benjamin’s own dark secrets in the end?

It’s a proposition steeped in scandal if they’re caught — but love just might be worth the risk.

I've been on a bit of a reading slump lately.  You know what it's like when every book you pick up disappoints and nothing is what you want or feel like reading?  Well, along came an email from Word Slinger and I thought it was about time I indulged in one of my secret favourites.  I just love me some regency romances and have done since I was about 17 or thereabouts and I discovered Georgette Heyer. (She is one of the original R R writers and set the bar very high for me.)

Once Upon a Scandal was exactly what I was looking for. A fiesty heroine who takes a leap into the deep end, or as in this case, the Thames, and after a series of adventures comes out smelling like roses and with her love interest in tow.  That is very much an over simplification of the story, but it was fun.  There are some amazing co-incidences that are easy to forgive and some lovely romantic scenes that just set me tingling and while it was never really in doubt that all would work out well in the end - this is a regency romance after all - the journey to get there was fun and extremely enjoyable.  

After a very pleasant 3 or 4 hours with Jane and Benjamin, I ended the book with a smile on my face and a big sigh, wishing that just for an hour or two our society was like that, then I came back to earth and smiled a bit more and realized I'm quite happy it's not.  If you are a fan of this genre and enjoy a little bit of sex (but not too much - about New Adult level) with your history then Once Upon a Scandal is for you.  Now I'm off to find a copy of Once Upon a Wager, which is the prequel to this one.  Thank you Ms LeMense for getting me out of my slump.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Follow Friday

Friday Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer!  This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. 
This week’s question –

What is your favorite movie? – Suggested by A Kernel of Nonsense.
I have a few favorite movies.  I'm not even sure WHY they are my favorites though but i'll try to explain...first off - Pretty in Pink with Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy.  John Hughes just understood teenagers.  He represented all different genres of teens in his movies and I loved each and every character in this movie.  

Next up, Charlie's Angels.  The remake with Drew Barrymore.  I LOVE Drew and Cameron.  This movie made me laugh out loud and was so much fun to see with my girlfriends.  Plus the soundtrack was awesome.  Girlpower. Do you see a theme here people?

Last but not least - Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightly.  I am not normally into period pieces but I love the nuances in this film.  How people imply and impose on one another. Again, another situation of a lower class female reaching up to strut her stuff with the upper classes.  LOVE IT.
- Christinabean

Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Guest Post by Corinne Foster author of the Phoon series

Synopsis of ‘Avira’, the second book in the series:
The fearless Avira is accustomed to wielding a sword alongside her father and brothers to defend their home. Injured and abandoned, she is taken by a stranger to a place where she embarks on a happy new life learning woodcraft and herblore. But her old life draws her back to the dangerous outside world when she has to rescue her family. Although her new magical powers are put to good use, she still finds help – and more – from an unexpected source.

 We asked Corinne what was the inspiration for her Phoon series and this was her answer: 

I always loved woods. Particularly the huge old ones that have stood there for centuries and you wonder what they have seen pass by over the course of their lives.  I was walking in the woods just the other day and it started to rain. The rain couldn’t get through the canopy, but I could hear the noise. It took me a while to work out what that pitter-patter was! I felt like they were protecting me, just like the Black Woods do for the girls in my books. Then, when there is strong wind blowing, the noise roaring through the tops of the trees is thrilling and scary, particularly at night time. This is the time when you can feel their power.

Have you ever been travelling along a road and you catch a glimpse of a mysterious house through the trees?  I became somewhat obsessed with one near me, which I used to drive past every day. I started to imagine who lived in there, and what they did, and how the house might look on the inside. This one had very strange metal gates at the end of its drive at the roadside – oh, how I wanted to slip through them and make my way up to the house!  I even concocted a story about what I would say I was doing there if I was caught. But I could never pluck up the courage.

So now you can see here the main elements of the Phoon series: the Black Woods, which host the secret power of the Phoon, and then the house, Domina, which  has a magic of its own.  I grew up in a house that although sadly not magic, was inhabited predominantly by women. It was my grandmother’s house, and she lived there with her sister. Then my mother and her brood (including me at the age of 8) moved back to live there when my father died. So once my brother (the oldest of us children) moved out, we had a house of five women over three generations – my grandmother, my great-aunt, my mother, my sister and me. We were not Unloved, like the group of women and girls in the books, but the house was in the country and rarely received visitors. With no menfolk around the house, we dealt with most things on our own. Not to say that I was deterred from travelling into the nearest town to go to the local dances at the weekend, after which I often missed the last bus and had to walk home late with only the trees for company. Again, I can see that a version of this has found its way into the story… 

I hope I have enticed you to want to read more. There are two books in the series so far, ‘Secret of the Phoon’ and the recently published prequel ‘Avira’ – though you don’t need to have read the first before you read the second. I’m currently writing the third one – ‘Shastia’.

About the Author:

Corinne Foster, author of the Phoon series of books, lives in the UK with her husband, dog and a view from her window of one of the most beautiful, huge old trees she has ever seen. If she ever gets stuck, she just gazes at it for a bit, puts on some music and gets tapping away on the keyboard again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc; destroying entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks.

Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes.

With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very world she lives in. Soon she finds that her fame may be part of a deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why.

Just look at that cover - is that a dragon I see?  I can't wait to read this one, it's due out September 1st and I have an advanced copy that I'm ready to start really soon. Mercedes Lackey hasn't disappointed me yet.  I'll let you know what I think.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Evil We Love by Cassandra Clare

Published: June 2015
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry
Pages: unknown
Copy Provided by: Borrowed
Summary: Goodreads


All evil starts somewhere, and Simon Lewis learns how The Circle—led by Valentine Morgenstern—began. One of ten adventures in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy.

The Shadowhunter Academy has only just reopened following the disastrous rise of the Circle. Now the faculty can finally admit to what happened when Valentine was a student.

This standalone e-only short story follows the adventures of Simon Lewis, star of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments, as he trains to become a Shadowhunter. Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy features characters from Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, and the upcoming Dark Artifices and Last Hours series. The Evil We Love is written by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman.

The Evil We Love is novella #5 in the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy series.  What I LOVE about this series is that it carries on after Book #6 of the Mortal Instruments.  We follow along with Simon, the best friend turned vampire back into human who has lost all of his memories. (How is THAT for confusing??)  

Simon is trying to figure out his feelings for Isabelle.  Unfortunately, she inadvertently burned her in public when she tried to jumpstart his feelings and now he feels a little bit lost without her...even though he doesn't remember her.  But a part of his heart remembers.   The problem is, Isabelle is trying desperately hard to ignore him.  She doesn't take to rejection easily, I think.  

Isabelle and her father visit the academy to teach students about what happened in the circle.  He reveals his part in the circle and how enigmatic Valentine was in turning about Shadowhunter history and starting the war.  It was great background on how the Circle came to be and the relationships within it.  

I love the way the authors twisted this one around so we can learn a little more about Isabelle and Simon's relationship.  It certainly wasn't what I was expecting.  I would read this title again!

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received

This week I got: 

Actually, I didn't get any books this week which is a good thing.  Instead I decided to peruse my own shelf for something to read because goodness knows I have LOADS to knock off my TBR list.  Hope you take an opportunity to whittle yours down as well once in awhile.  As much as I love receiving titles, I also like to spend the time to read the collection I have and weed through the ones I love and the ones I only "liked".  Happy Monday! 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Shout Out to Indies - The Tunnel by Josh Anderson

We here at The Paperback Princesses often receive emails from Indie authors requesting reviews and are blessed with free book copies. Often we are unable to get to so many titles before our mass market published books take over our TBR shelves. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of great reads though! We want to give back to those Indie authors and are declaring EVERY SECOND SUNDAY our SHOUT OUT TO INDIES MEME. For those of fellow bloggers, please feel free to add our meme to your regular schedule. We only ask that you quote and link back to us as a courtesy. For all of you Indie authors, we invite you to contact us at the contact link to your top left. We will select 1 - 3 titles (each time we post) that sound interesting.

This week's selection is:

Published: August 1st, 2015
Publihser  Epic Press

Synopsis of "The Tunnel" (Book #1):

What if you could go back and change the past? Kyle Cash made the biggest mistake of his life on March 13, 2014, when he crashed his friend's Audi into a school bus full of children. The accident haunts him every day, until the sister of one of the kids killed in the crash comes to visit Kyle at Stevenson Youth Correctional Facility and offers him the opportunity to travel back in time. Kyle learns, though, that time weaving is more complicated-- and more dangerous - than he ever could have imagined. 

Synopsis of the six-book series:

When Kyle Cash got high, and crashed his friend's car into a school bus, he thought his life was over. When he's given the opportunity to travel through time, and try to correct his greatest mistake, he accepts the invitation and starts on a mind bending adventure. Over the course of a journey that leads him to both the past and the future, Kyle encounters his own absentee father as a much younger man, enters into a love triangle with different versions of the same woman, and clashes with a time traveling mad man exponentially more dangerous than any of the gangbangers he knew in prison. As Kyle learns more and more about the people who carefully guard the ancient secret of time weaving, he realizes that he may be the only one who can stop a threat so great that it threatens to unravel the very fabric of time itself.

We asked Josh:

Why I write for a young adult audience:  

Kids today have become so sophisticated that there's very little I want to do as a storyteller that I can't do within the YA genre. 

My memory of that pre-teen and teenage period is framed a lot by how strongly I felt so many different emotions -- often all at once. So, writing about characters at a very raw, emotional part of their lives offers a lot of dramatic possibility. 

Why I'm so thrilled to be part of the launch of EPIC Press:

EPIC Press is trying to tap into the same kind of storytelling that encourages binge-watching on TV. I loved the idea of trying to create a series of books that a person could live in for a couple of weeks and look forward to getting back to each time they stepped away. Hopefully, I've accomplished that.

We wish Josh all success with his new book series.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Excerpt - Chemistry by Jodi Lamm

Published: June 10th, 2015
Pages: 212

You don’t want to read this book. I’m warning you. This isn’t a heartwarming, boy-meets-girl, high school romance. I wish it were—God, do I ever. No, if you read this, you’re going to be angry… with me, mostly. You’ll probably yell at me, if you’re the type of person who yells at books. You’ll tell me not to be so stupid, but I won’t listen. I’ll be exactly as stupid as I need to be to destroy everything I love because that’s who I am: a walking, talking tragedy. That’s who I’ve always been. But if you’re determined to read on despite my warning, I may as well introduce myself. My name is Claude Frollo, I’m nineteen going on ninety, and this is my story. It isn’t pretty, but it’s honest. And it’s the only story I have left to tell.

Many thanks to Jodi for sending us an excerpt from her book Chemistry, which she says is "a modern, YA re-imagining of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, told entirely from the perspective of the antagonist, Claude Frollo. It's a story about cruelty, obsession, and the star-crossed passions of two terrifically misguided people. It is a very faithful retelling, despite its high school setting."  

I spend my nights in the sanctuary. Esmeralda’s shadow playing on the dome above is something I wouldn’t miss for my own eternal salvation. She can’t know how much she tortures me. Her silhouette is powerful. My own imagination could not supply a better dream than this. The way her whole body seems to cover me, envelope me in the darkness. I’ve never felt so warm in all my life.

Valentine secluded himself the moment he discovered that Esmeralda, rather than comprehend the message he meant to send her, had taken the white roses from the crystal vase and hung them upside-down to dry right beside her pillow. The sunflowers, she ignored completely. I was there when he noticed it, and I saw all the hope drain from him, just as all the water had drained from that crystal vase. “So that’s it,” he signed without looking at me. “That’s all it really takes; you just have to be beautiful.” Then he hung his head and muttered, “I wish I were made of stone like you.” At first, I looked around to see which of the carved saints he might have been speaking to, but now, I believe he was speaking to me. He was lashing out at the nearest beating heart. And who am I to judge him? I more than deserve it.

Even now, I lie back on a pew in the holy sanctuary, surrounded by saints and the Virgin Mother, but all I see is that dancing shadow above me, pulling her shirt up over her head, brushing out her hair, readying herself for bed. She hums a song I don’t know, happy, oblivious to the devil that watches her from hell.

By the time she finally switches off her little light, by the time my only window to her world is closed, I am writhing on that cold, hard pew. I burn from the inside. My own heart deafens me. And my eyes are clouded with the smoky images of Esmeralda dancing in orange and red, Esmeralda enflamed by Phoebus’ touch, Esmeralda bound and gagged in the greenhouse.

I recall, trembling, the kiss I gave her while she lay half-conscious under Phoebus’ spell. How warm it was. How unbelievably soft and warm. And the taste of her. I can’t even describe it. I would never have guessed the most haunting part of my first kiss would be the taste. It’s unlike anything else. The flavor of excitement. The thrill of fear and promise. I’m still drunk on it.

With a shudder, I realize that no matter how fate pits us against each other, no matter how bound we are to destroy each other, I am determined to have one more taste of Esmeralda.

About the Author: 
Jodi Lamm is the author of the Titan Magic trilogy and a little novel called Chemistry. She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, where she currently lives with The Other Lamm, two furry creatures, a parrot/evil overlord, and a variety of musical instruments. She writes for the love of storytelling. She’s addicted to fantasy, ghost stories, and anything with just the right amount of eerie romance.