Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Survivors Excerpt

I quickly understood what was going on when I arrived at the rehearsal dinner and the place card with my name on it was next to Cole’s. At the least, Corrina was trying to make sure I had someone to entertain me all weekend so I didn’t sit silently by myself because she knew me well enough to know that is exactly what I would do. Cole was already hovering around the table when I arrived.

“Sadie,” he smiled. He was very relaxed. I was jealous.

“Cole,” I smiled back. My smile seemed to put him even further at ease. I had noticed this at the church, too. He was holding a cocktail. “Can I get you anything to drink?” he


“Sure. What you’re having,” I said. I had seen girls do this at times, and the men they said it to always interpreted it as some sort of compliment about their choice of beverages. It seemed strange to me that that mattered. It didn’t matter to me, of course. Though I didn’t need it, I could eat or drink anything and it all tasted about the same. Since it was irrelevant to me, I thought I’d try it on Cole. I didn’t feel hunger anymore, but I could eat (as I would tonight, for appearances) and I could drink anything I liked as well. Since alcohol had no effect on me, it was safe to drink without fear of losing my inhibitions.

He returned a few moments later and pressed a cloudy, pale drink into my hand. It smelled like lemons—a smell I liked—and alcohol—a smell that burned the inside of nose. I took a sip. “It’s great,” I said, sensing he needed reassurance.

People around us were beginning to sit down. This part made me nervous. Standing alone, I managed to avoid people’s direct eye line and thereby usually avoided speaking to them. At a table, it wasn’t so easy. We all faced each other, a design that forced communication. But I did look forward to those around me talking to each other, giving me the chance to be completely quiet unless someone asked me a question.

Cole pulled my chair out for me, sliding it underneath me as I sat down. “Thank you,” I said.

“Of course,” he said. I looked down at the table, unsure of how much longer I could continue this one-on-one conversation. I hoped someone would speak to him so I could just listen politely.

I wasn’t so lucky. “So you know Corrina from Nashville,” Cole said, his body angled toward me. I didn’t felt anything radiating from him, no emotion at all, though earlier he was easy to sense. I looked up at his eyes to get a read. They were smiling at me, but I couldn’t sense anything else.

“Right,” I said, still getting nothing from him. It was very weird.

“But you didn’t go to school with her?” he asked. He knew the answer to this question, his tone demonstrated, but I wasn’t sure how he knew it. I looked at him very intensely for a moment, trying again to get a read. Nothing.

“Right again,” I said. I was having to focus on keeping my facial features in a friendly expression. I’m sure the mix of my actual emotion and the one I was trying to project made me look a little strange.

“So how’d you meet?” he asked.

This one was easy, the truth. “We met at a coffee shop. Her credit card wouldn’t go through, and she didn’t have any cash on her. I was next in line, so I bought hers.”

“Sounds like you were trying to hit on her,” he joked.

“You’ve seen right through me,” I sighed, and he laughed. “She thanked me, and I asked her if she wanted to join me,” I said, but Cole cut me off.

“Again, trying to hit on her,” he interjected. I laughed this time. “Obviously,” I said. “And we just got to talking. It was right after Felix had moved from Tennessee, and she was pretty upset about it. I guess I’m pretty good at listening because she started telling me her whole story. She talked about everything. And you know, she is marrying Felix tomorrow, so my attempts at picking her up were all in vain,” I joked, then laughed at how this was coming to me so naturally. I sounded more human than I ever had.

“So why were you in Nashville?” he asked. This was a harder question to answer. I was the first to admit that I didn’t know how or why Nashville had become my home base. I felt drawn to it for reasons I couldn’t explain. It wasn’t even practical; there were no direct international

flights in and out of it, and it was often warmer than I liked. But two days after I arrived in Nashville, when I was in a coffee shop just to be around people—something I did often to sharpen my sensing skills—I met Corrina. She was the first human friend I had made, and I was hesitant to abandon that relationship. So I rented a suite in a hotel near Corrina’s school, and I made that my home. I stayed there until Corrina graduated nearly a year later.

“Family,” I said to Cole, thinking that was a weird reason for me to choose. Funny that no one else had ever asked me why I was in Nashville, not even Corrina.

“Are you from Nashville?” he asked.

“No, I’m from up north,” I said honestly, knowing that was enough of an answer for this Southern boy not to press the issue any further.

“But you’ve got family down here,” he said, confirming.

“We’re spread out,” I said sheepishly. That was the biggest lie I had told him yet.

“What do you do?” he asked.

“Travel, mostly,” I said. I had standard answers ready for these kinds of questions, a lot of which were truthful on some level. They gave people a mistaken impression of me, but I didn’t much mind that.

“For your job?” he asked.

“No,” I said. I had not yet mastered being able to tell when I needed to add more to my answers and when it was okay to say little. My inability to further interpret Cole’s responses by sensing him was making that even more difficult.

He frowned. “You don’t work,” he said. It was a statement.

“No,” I admitted. This was the precise moment when people got the wrong idea about me. One of Todd’s friends had referred to me as a trust fund baby, and I had no idea what he meant. When I learned later that, as best I could gather, trust fund babies were people who didn’t have to do much—at least not what they didn’t want to—because their families had set them up financially, I was amused. This was not my case at all, but I did understand that living the life I led, traveling as I did, driving the car I had, even dressing the way I did, had added to people’s perceptions of me in this light. I had not bothered to correct any of them, but I could see that many of them found this highly unfavourable. I was hoping Cole wasn’t one of them.

“What do you do?” I finally asked, when I couldn’t tell what he was thinking at all.

“I’m into I-banking,” he said. I had no idea what this meant.

“Where do you live?” I asked, following his lead.

“I’m out of New York now, but I don’t know if I can stay there. The city’s tough for me. I miss my family a lot,” he said. It was endearing that he missed his family, even though it alienated me a bit.

“So why don’t you come home?” I asked.

“And do what? I come from a town in Tennessee with fourteen thousand people in it. Not exactly the investment banking capital,” he mused. Investment banking—that must have been what he meant by I-banking.

“Oh,” I said. I wasn’t sure how to react to this. Happy for him that he had a job that was important to him? Sad for him that he hated the city and was homesick? Admiring of him because he was going to stick it out?

“Is there one place you always visit, or do you go all over?” he asked, going back to me.

“I go…a lot of places,” I said, vaguely.

“Like…” he said. This was one of those odd cues humans gave each other: one-word prompts to continue. When I wasn’t careful, I’d miss them.

“Like all over. A lot of other countries,” I said. He scrunched his brow together a little, like he was thinking very hard. I had no idea what was going through his mind, and that killed me.

“You don’t like giving anything away, do you?” he said. His words stung, but I was sure he didn’t mean them to. Todd had said the exact same thing when I had returned to Nashville from my most recent trip, tight-lipped about what I had been doing, only accidentally slipping on

where I’d been. He, of course, had said it with more frustration and had drawn an obvious parallel to something far more personal that I knew Cole and I were not talking about.

I bit my lip. “What do you want to know?” I asked. He was about to speak, and I added, “Specifically.”

He frowned. “Last place you visited,” he said.

“Tupelo,” I smiled.

“Doesn’t count,” he said. “Last place you went to on a plane.”

“Last plane I was on was from LAX,” I said, and this was true. What did I have to lose by admitting this? Cole was barely more than a stranger, and I had learned that strangers were a special kind of confidant; after all, one of the most peculiar things about humanity was how much you could trust strangers when you kept so much from the people you loved.

“You were in LA? Or you connected through there?” he asked. He was quick. It made my job more difficult, but I liked that about him. That was five points for Cole Hardwick—I had been counting—six if you counted Felix’s highlight of “traditional.”

“Connecting,” I smiled faintly, relenting. This brought a grin to his face. I was playing along.

“So you flew into LA from…” he let his words hang. Another cue for me to finish his sentence.

“Sydney,” I said, now totally smiling. Why did he make me smile so readily?

“Interesting,” he said. He leaned back and crossed his arms, arched his eyebrows, and let his eyes linger on me. “Sadie, answer me this,” he said, leaning in so close I could feel my face warm from his breath.

I gulped, an unnecessary instinct. “All right,” I said, watching him carefully.

“What do you want most out of life?” he asked, his voice a whisper. He had to be joking. Who would ask a question like that of a girl he just met? I didn’t suppose people could answer that question on the spot.

I, of course, knew the answer. To die, I thought. No, that wasn’t it. “Mortality,” I said, freezing as I realized too late that I had said it out loud. Time stood still around me. I was aware of every emotion in the room, every fork clinking, every burst of laughter radiating in the air. What had I done?

But Cole Hardwick only laughed.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Marked Giveaway Winner

And the winner is…

Literati Wannabe!!!

Congratulations! You can expect an email from the author soon.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Mockingbirds review

Title: The Mockingbirds

Author: Daisy Whitney

Publisher: Little, Brown

Publication date: November 2nd 2010

Series: The Mockingbirds #1

Links: Author Website|Facebook|Twitter|Buy the book

Book source: UK Book Tours

My Rating: 8/10


Some schools have honour codes.

Others have handbooks.

Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honourable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

My thoughts:

This is a pretty easy review for me. I thought this was a brilliant read and I loved everything about it.

For dealing with such a hard topic, this book was a really easy read for me with the way rape was dealt with and how the protagonist felt about it. I felt all of her pain, confusion and doubts which made it a really refreshing read.

I would say the only problem I had with this book was how ‘The Mockingbirds’ punished students who did something out of line in any way or form. For rape it was kind of…unfair. I did enjoy how they encouraged people speaking out and discovering their voice as it were, but sometimes it made me a little bit uneasy.

I really do recommend this read though, it was fantastic and it’s definitely one I will read again.

Good quotes:

"And we're all good, everything is forgiven between Beethoven and me because this is the part of me that hasn't changed. In this moment I'm not defined by the other things, the things that happened to me, the things I didn't choose. This is the part of me that defines me for all time, for always. The thing I choose completely."

"Hush, little students, we'll say the word,

Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird.

And if that mockingbird won't sing,

Mama's gonna write down everything.

And so that book won't look the same,

Mama's gonna add a brand-new name."

About the author:

By day, Daisy Whitney is a producer, on-air correspondent, podcaster and raconteur in the new media business. At night, she writes novels for teens and THE MOCKINGBIRDS is her debut. Little, Brown will publish it in fall 2010. When Daisy's not inventing fictional high school worlds, she can be found somewhere north of San Francisco walking her adorable dog, watching online TV with her fabulous husband or playing with her fantastic kids.  A graduate of Brown University, she believes in shoes, chocolate chip cookies and karma.  You can follow her writing blog and new media adventures at Daisy Whitney.com.

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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Teaser Tuesday #24

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can take part! All you have to do is:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us (2) teaser sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12 (but don't give any spoilers!)
  • Share the title of the book that the teaser is from...that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!

You can find out more here!

My current read: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Random Page: #202


I liked him immediately. As outsiders, we both saw our role somewhere in the quadrant of Privileged Caretakers.

I knew he protected her when he could.

Happy reading everyone!

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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Marked Giveaway

Time for another giveaway guys!

As part of the BLB Book Tour of Marked by Kim Richardson I’m giving away an ecopy of Marked in Kindle edition.

This open to U.S only.

Leave a comment to enter with your email address.

Giveaway ends 21st of June and the winner will be announce on the 23rd.

Good luck!

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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Giveaway Winners!

And the winners of the giveaway for the ecopies of The Blood That Defines Us are…




Congratulations! You can expect an email from the author with your copy soon!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Teaser Tuesday #23

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can take part! All you have to do is:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us (2) teaser sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12 (but don't give any spoilers!)
  • Share the title of the book that the teaser is from...that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!

You can find out more here!

My current read: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Random Page: #166


‘Gracie! What happened? Can you hear us?’

‘She’s unconscious,’ Gabriel said, ‘but she’s going to be fine.’

Happy reading!

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Saturday, 4 June 2011

The Survivors Amanda Havard Excerpt


Title: The Survivors

Author: Amanda Havard

Links: Goodreads|Website


I sighed. My car sped angrily across the smoldering Mississippi pavement as I watched the temperature display on the dashboard click over from 98º to 99º. It was unseasonably warm, even for June. The road in front of me disappeared quickly under my tires. I was charging toward the hazy lines that sizzled off the pavement, making it look like there was a reflective pool off in the distance that I could never catch, like I was chasing a mirage.

That felt right, of course. Most of my life felt like chasing a mirage. I was always sure I was near to catching something, something I needed desperately—an answer, a person, a break—but I always ended up scrambling toward a deceptive vision with all my energy, only to be met with more disappointment, more isolation, or more rejection. More of the same.

As I crossed the city limits of Tupelo, the thermometer clicked to 100º and I could barely breathe. The heat radiated through the windows in my car; even the blasting air-conditioning no match for the sun’s penetrating rays. What was I doing here? On this road, in this car, on this journey? I was going to Corrina’s wedding, of that much I was sure. But as I drove farther and farther, I’d catch myself reaching my hand across the center console into the passenger seat as if I expected it to land on someone’s leg. Of course, some stupid part of my mind thought he was still sitting there next to me. He wasn’t. Invariably, my hand dropped onto the smooth, hot leather of the empty seat, and I’d be startled yet again. I recoiled my hand I every time this happened, angry that I had again let myself forget that I was going it alone.

That’s when I’d wonder what I was doing going to Mississippi to be a bridesmaid. This event was only going to remind me of what I would never have. It was so stupid of me, trying to have a life like this, trying to be so human.

He had left me, of course. It had been an unseasonably hot day then, too, and I wore shorts and flip-flops as we walked into a pizza joint in downtown Nashville. I hadn’t seen it coming. I was embarrassed; I would have dressed better had I known. If I were going to go down, I would have liked to go down in style. But I was not perceptive enough to sense such things in advance. The trouble was, I had spent the first 141 years of my existence living in ridiculous isolation, in a culture that did its best to keep the intricacies of relationships between mortals outside our protected walls. As the youth, we were not to be distracted from our work, our life, our dedication to God and family. This really meant, of course, that they didn’t want us to know what was out there, what life could be like. They preferred us only to know what it was like for us. If we learned what went with humanity—the passion and the torment, the freedom and the oppression—then at least some of us might be lured away from the family and our carefully crafted world. Conversely, it might scare some of the lesser ones into staying there forever, paralyzed in fear by the uncertainties that lay outside our walls. Most of us, though—those like me—were intrigued every time we had even half a glimpse into some bit of human life. The elders saw that, too, so they did their best to isolate us. This was effective for the most part. I was, after all, the only one who had ever left.

It made the adjustment to human life difficult for me when the time came, having experienced so little of it (if even I had read much about it) before I left. I had stopped visibly aging sometime between my nineteenth and twenty-first birthdays, so when I obtained an identity in the human world—birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, Social Security number—I had said I was born in 1990. So now, I was more or less twenty-one years old by mortal standards. The problem was that people expected twenty-one-year-olds to know things about themselves and about the world that I could not possibly have known, despite my best efforts to prepare. It had been a rough transition.

Even so, I didn’t want to go back. I was tired of being repressed. I had lived for nearly two lifetimes before I walked away from the city walls nearly empty-handed. I never looked back. I had decided that I would take no more direction from them, that I would no longer relinquish my control of my life to anyone. So far, I hadn’t.

I’d gone south immediately, believing they would send no one into uncharted territory to look for me. I’d been passing as a human for three years. Unlike some of my kind, I had the control of my inhuman faculties to do so. I had practiced it for years before I ran away. I even had a much wider knowledge of the outside world than my peers—I read every book I ever got my hands on, researched humans in any way I could—but that still didn’t make the transition easy. I was entirely unprepared for the experience. People, it turned out, were not known for their thoughtful or good-natured intentions. Consequently, I had been hurt in so many strange ways I never expected that I could barely stand most of the people I met. I had not realized, either, that so much of human life was filled with monotony and duty, with the same moronic rituals I’d been trying to avoid by leaving my family.

Particularly, I had not understood that in this world, you could give yourself to someone completely, but they might never return the favor. I learned this with Todd, my ex-boyfriend, the hard way. We had spent seventy-nine days together, and then he was gone. As I came to learn, seventy-nine days was not any kind of major commitment—even to mortals whose life spans were so short, each day making up a greater percentage of their lives than mine—but he had said a lot of things in that time that made it seem like this was headed toward forever. And I believed him. Consequently, I was heartbroken, though he seemed unscathed. It floored me. I added to my growing list of human tendencies a simple line: They do not feel loyalty. Not the way we do.

I had yet to meet a human loyal to anything other than himself or herself. In Todd’s case, he was loyal to his own impatience, his human drive to run.

I bit my lower lip absently at this thought. I understood the urge to run. That urge was what had landed me here, in this car, on this road, alone in the world, passing as something I was not.

Check out the rest of the tour featuring ‘The Survivors’ here!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Marked by Kim Richardson Excerpt

Title: Marked

Author: Kim Richardson

Series: Soul Guardians BK 1

ISBN: 9781461017097

 Buy "Marked" by Kim Richardson: Amazon


Sixteen year-old Kara Nightingale’s ordinary life is suddenly turned upside-down when she dies in a freak accident, and she wakes up in a strange new world with a new career—as a rookie for the Guardian Angel Legion.

Kara hurtles towards dangerous missions with the help of her Petty Officer and friend, David. But when she discovers a Mark on her leg, the entire Legion accuses her of being a Demon spy.

Angels are dying, and David begins to pull away from her. Can Kara prove her innocence as she becomes the Legion’s only hope? It’s going to take a miracle to save the Legion, and Kara’s luck has just run out...


"Marked" by Kim Richardson: Chapter 1 Reborn

“Wait for me!” Kara jogged along Saint-Paul Street. She pressed her cell phone against her ear with a sweaty hand. “I’ll be there in two minutes!”

Her black ballet flats tapped the cobble stones as she avoided oncoming traffic. She jumped onto the sidewalk and ran through the crowd. Her portfolio swung at her side.

“I can’t believe you’re not here yet,” said the voice on the other line. “You had to pick today of all days to be late.”

“Okay, okay! I’m already freaking out about the presentation. You’re not exactly helping, Mat.”

A laugh came through the speaker. “I’m just saying…that this is supposed to be the most important day of your life. And you, Mademoiselle Nightingale, are late.”

“Yeah, I heard you the first time—MOTHER. My stupid alarm didn’t go off!” Kara dashed along the busy street. Her long brown hair bounced against her back. The smell of grease and beer from the pubs reached her nose. Her heart hammered at her chest.

Thank God. I can see it now.

Over the heads of the crowd, Kara could just make out the sign, Une Galerie. Stencilled elegantly in bold black letters, the name hovered above the art gallery’s majestic glass doors. She could see shadows of people gathered inside. She was only a block away now.

“You know, the presentation won’t wait for you.”

“I swear I’m gonna kick your butt when I get there!” Kara growled into the phone.

She thought about getting off the sidewalk and running along the edge of the street. She looked back to see how bad the traffic was.

Then her heart skipped a beat.

Less than a half a block behind, a man stood motionless and indifferent to the wave of humanity that flowed around him. He was staring at her. His white hair stood out against his dark grey tailored suit. Kara frowned.

His eyes are black, she realized.

A chill rolled up her spine. The man melted into the crowd and vanished, as though he were a mere trick of the light. The hair on the back of Kara’s neck prickled.

“I think I’m being followed,” Kara spoke into her cell phone after a few seconds.

“You always think you’re being followed.”

“No! I’m serious! I swear—this guy is following me—some psycho with white hair. I—I think I’ve seen him before. Or at least my mother has—”

“We all know your mother is a little nutty sometimes. No offence, I love your mom, but she’s been seeing and talking to invisible people since we were five. I think it’s rubbing off on you.”

“Listen. I was with my mom yesterday on Saint-Catherine Street, and she said we were being followed by someone. What if this is the same guy? Maybe she’s not as crazy as everyone thinks.” She wondered if there was a little truth in her mother’s visions.

Mat laughed. “Are you serious? It’s bad enough that your mom sees spirits and demons. If you start believing in all that, they’ll lock you up.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence. Remind me why you’re my best friend again?” Kara decided to drop the subject. She focused on the gallery sign as she ran. “Okay—I can see you now.”

Mat was leaning against the gallery’s brick exterior. His head was turned toward the glass doors. He pulled his cigarette from his lips and blew smoke into his phone’s receiver. “I think it’s starting. Hurry up!”

Kara felt her cheeks burn. Her heart pounded in her ears and muffled the sounds around her. She took a deep breath, hoping it would calm the fluttering in her stomach, and she sprinted onto Saint Laurence Boulevard. Her cell phone slipped out of her hand. It hit the pavement.

“Crap!” Kara crouched down to grab her phone.

A flicker of movement appeared in the corner of her eye.

“WATCH OUT!” Someone shouted. She stood up and turned around.

A city bus hurtled towards her. She stared, transfixed. The bus kept coming.


An arm reached out to her. She saw a split second image of two monstrous head lights.

And then it hit.

Thirteen tons of cold metal crushed her body. She didn't feel any pain. She didn't feel anything at all.

Everything around her went black.

A moment later, Kara was standing in an elevator.

At first, streaks of white light obscured her vision. She blinked and rubbed her eyes. She shook her head. The elevator was elegant—three sides appeared to be made of handcrafted cherry panels decorated with golden-wing crests. The smell of moth balls lingered in the air, like her grandma’s dusty old closet. When her eyesight improved, she realized she wasn’t alone.

On a wooden chair, facing the elevator's control panel, covered in black fur, and wearing a pair of green Bermuda shorts, from which protruded two hand-like callused feet—sat a monkey.

It spun on its seat, wrapped its feet around the backrest of the chair, opened its coconut-shaped mouth and said—in a British accent—“Hello, Miss.”

Kara's jaw dropped, and she swallowed the urge to cry out. His hairless face crinkled into a grin, so that he looked like an oversized walnut. His square head sat directly on powerful shoulders. He raised his chin and looked down upon Kara. His yellow eyes mesmerized her. She couldn't look away.

He looks like Old Man Nelson from the hardware store, she thought wildly.

After a minute, Kara was able to force some words out of her mouth.

“H…hey there, little talking-monkey-person,” she croaked. “How's it going?”

Her throat was dry. She tried to swallow, but all she could do was contract her throat muscles.

“I have to remember to tell Mat about this tomorrow,” she whispered to herself.

The monkey frowned. Then he growled. “I'm not a monkey, Miss. I'm a chimpanzee! You mortals are all the same. Monkey-this—monkey-that. Might as well call me a dog!” A splatter of spit hit Kara's face as the words escaped his lips.

Kara retched as she wiped the spit from her face. It was yellowish green and smelled like a bad case of gingivitis.

“Ah…sorry, monk—chimpanzee.”

She rubbed her hand on her blue jeans. “Gross! This is really nasty—it’s all sticky!”

The chimp glared at Kara with disdain. “Chimp Number 5M51, if you please.”

He then began to scratch his behind and only stopped once he noticed Kara’s disgusted expression.

“You'll be arriving at your destination momentarily.” And with that, he turned his attention back to the control panel—hands away from his butt.

Gradually, Kara began to feel more awake, as though she had woken from a long sleep. Reality slowly crawled back in. She bit her lower lip as she told herself to think.

Don’t panic!

“Um, what destination? Where are we going?” she asked.

Chimp 5M51 turned his head and smiled, exposing rows of crooked yellow teeth. His eyes locked onto hers. “To Orientation, of course. Level One.”


“Yes. All mortals who have passed must go through Orientation. That's where you're going.” Chimp 5M51 clamped his feet around the edges of the chair and extended an abnormally long arm in the direction of the elevator's control pane. He pointed to the brass buttons.

Kara leaned over for a better view. The panel read:

1. Orientation

2. Operations

3. Miracles Divisions

4. Hall of Souls

5. Department of Defence

6. Council of Ministers

7. The Chief

“OUCH!” cried Kara, “Hey—what the—?”

Chimp 5M51 had picked a flake of dry scalp off Kara's head. He popped it in his mouth and swallowed. “Mmmmh. My apologies, I couldn't help myself. I am a primate, after all.”

“Freak,” mumbled Kara crossly, as she rubbed her scalp.

A feeling of dread slowly rose up inside her. “This—this doesn't make sense. I—I'm dreaming. This is a dream!”

Kara shut her eyes and pressed her back against the elevator wall, trembling. “It can’t be happening. It just can't! I need to wake up now!”

“You're dead, Miss.”

Kara opened her eyes. The word dead echoed in her ears. The weight of his words started to pull her under. She fought against the sick feeling of panic.

“I'm not dead!” she hissed, “I'm right here, you stupid BABOON!”

“—Chimpanzee!” Spat Chimp 5M51. “Think what you must,” he said, as he lifted his chin. “But, think about this. Can you remember events before this elevator?”

Kara floundered, trying desperately to remember. Bits and pieces flashed inside her brain: a white light…metal… darkness…

The bus.

Kara dropped to her knees. The city bus had hit her—pulverized her core and crushed her like a tomato. But then she remembered something else, something that didn’t make any sense. It was coming back to her now, like a faded memory sharpening into a clear picture. It flicked before her eyes. She saw an arm reach out and touch her during the bus crash.

Someone tried to save me?

“See? You're dead,” said the chimp, matter-of-factly.

She pressed her hand against the left side of her chest.

“Oh, my God! Oh my God!” Kara couldn't feel a heartbeat. She pressed down on her rib cage. Nothing. She clasped her wrist. No pulse. No beating. No movement at all.

“See. No beating. No heart—you're dead,” declared the chimp again.

But before she could start freaking out, she was thrown off balance as the elevator stopped abruptly.

“Level One. Orientation!” The chimp announced.

“Wait!” Kara pushed herself away from the elevator wall and wobbled up to the chimp. “I don't understand. What's Orientation?”

With his finger still on the button, he turned his head. “Orientation is where all the new GAs are categorized.”

Kara stared stupidly into chimp 5M51’s yellow eyes. “What are GAs?”

“Guardian Angels.”


Kara heard the swish of doors opening. A hint of a smile reached the chimp’s lips. He raised his arm and pressed his hand on her back—

She flew out the elevator.

 About Kim Richardson:

I grew up in a small town in Northern Quebec, where I developed a wild imagination because—let’s face it—there was nothing else to do. I surrounded myself with art/books/animation and fell in love with fantasy novels and movies like, Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. I loved to be transported to other worlds.

Years later, I left my little “hick town” and moved to the city of Montreal, where I studied 3D Animation. I became an Animation Supervisor for a VFX company, and stayed in the field of animation for 14 years.

Now, I’m a full-time writer, enjoying the country life with my husband and two Bernese Mountain dogs, Simba and Maggie. My children.

I write stories geared towards children because, let's not tell lies, I'm still a 13 year-old at heart!

Visit Kim’s blog!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Review and Giveaway: The Blood That Defines Us

Title: The Blood That Defines Us
Author: Majanka Verstraete
Publication date: May 1st 2011
Book Source: Enchanted Book Tours
My rating: 7/10
Buy the book: Smashwords|Publisher
Links: Author Website|Goodrads|Read sample chapters

Every house has its own history and its own secrets. Some secrets are just darker than others. And some are even downright terrifying.
When the Johnsons moved into their new house, they didn’t expect that weird things would start to happen, objects would move on their own, and that the house’s history would come back to haunt them.
But I did.

My thoughts:
There really isn’t much to say in this review other than that this is a really, really good read.
It’s been a long time since I have read something that has creeped me out so much that I can’t stop thinking about it. It was so creepy at times I couldn’t help but shudder which makes a really good horror story.
It was a really fast, enthralling read that definitely keeps you turning pages.
The idea behind the plot was original, terrifying and intriguing all at once. It was something new which is always a good thing and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
The only criticism I have was that at times I was confused when the narration switched between different characters in both the past and the present. It wasn’t difficult to catch up with it but it sort of threw me a little.
Overall though, this is a definitely a must read for anyone who doesn’t mind being creeped out once in a while and is a great introduction for a reader wanting to read some horror stories!

About the author:
Majanka Verstraete is a twenty-year-old law student with a passion for writing and reading. Her favourite genres are fantasy, horror and historical fiction, although she occasionally enjoys other genres as well.
The Blood That Defines Us is her first published novella. She is currently working on an epic fantasy series for young adults. Feel free to visit her website (http://writings.eternalised.net).

Courtesy of the author I’m giving away two ecopies of The Blood That Defines Us.
The giveaway is international and ends on the 14th of June.
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