Jul 26, 2015

Showcase Sunday #47 - July 2015



Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.
~Vicky @ Books Biscuits and Tea


Welcome, my dear readers, to this month's book haul. I haven't made a Showcase Sunday post in such a long time. I am currently at my hometown (been here since March) and I am not buying any physical books so I don't have a new haul that much. But all this will change in a few days. I am moving to London on the 29th and I am sure I will acquire some new books there. I am so excited! But for now, here are the books I got this past month.

Audiobooks

I've already read The Faerie Guardian and it was an amazing read, I am looking forward to the rest of the series. I won The Moon Dwellers audiobook by David Estes and I am currently listening to it (only 2 hours left) and it's awesome. Such a great book. Also looking forward to the rest of the series. And finally, The Jester and Professional Integrity are short stories in the Ryiria Chronicles and they are free. Cause Michael Sullivan is just that cool. These are set after the second book in Chronicles so I have to read that one first (guess which book I'll buy first when in London).

E-Books

After reading a single review I was completely sold on The Red Mohawk. Also the author is anonymous, that's so mysterious. All the other ebooks are ones I really want to read and they were either free or very cheap, so I grabbed them. And that's pretty much all the books I got this past month.

Jul 23, 2015

Two for Thursday: Tracy Tam: Santa Command by Krystalyn Drown and Lucas Mackenzie and the London Midnight Ghost Show by Steve Bryant & GIVEAWAY

T4T-Banner
Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!
Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!
You just might find your next read!
This week, #T4T presents to you:
Tracy Tam: Santa Command by Krystalyn Drownand
Lucas Mackenzie and the London Midnight Ghost Show
by Steve Bryant
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
KDrown_TracyTam_1650x2550
Tracy Tam doesn't really believe in Santa Claus, at least not like the rest of us do. She also doesn't believe that Santa can possibly deliver all of those presents in one night, to children around the world, without a little help from science. A flying sleigh can only be powered by jet engines, after all, and Santa’s magical abilities can only be the result of altered DNA. How else could he know what every little girl and boy wants for Christmas and who has been naughty or nice? In order to test her theories, Tracy sneaks onto Santa’s sleigh then ends up at Santa Command, where a team of (gasp!) humans monitor Santa’s big night. When Tracy attempts to hack into their computers, she accidentally introduces a virus into the system. As a result, three states get knocked out of sync with the rest of the world (oops!). Santa won't be able to deliver all the presents in time! Now, Tracy must fix time and help Santa, but she has no idea how. How can a girl who doesn't believe help Santa and save Christmas before it's too late? With a little Christmas magic, of course!
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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:
This is an adorable story and took me back to my childhood when i would stay up late and see if could catch Santa.” – Jan, Jrs Book Reviews
“Tracy Tam is an entertaining holiday read with a stubbornly scientific protagonist…”Dianne, Author
“…packed with fun surprises and zany flips that turn expectations into wonder.” – Kim, Kim's Critiquing Corner
about-the-author
Krystalyn Drown
Krystalyn spent thirteen years working at Walt Disney World in a variety of roles: entertainer, talent coordinator, and character captain. Her degree in theatre as well as many, many hours spent in a dance studio, helped with her job there. Her various other day jobs have included working in zoology at Sea World, as an elementary teacher, and currently as a support technician for a website. In the evenings, she does mad writing challenges with her sister, who is also an author. Krystalyn lives near Orlando, Florida with her husband, son, a were cat, and a Yorkie with a Napoleon complex.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube

Lucas MacKenzie eBook Final
Lucas Mackenzie has got the best job of any 10 year old boy. He travels from city-to-city as part of the London Midnight Ghost Show, scaring unsuspecting show-goers year round. Performing comes naturally to Lucas and the rest of the troupe, who’ve been doing it for as long as Lucas can remember.
But there’s something Lucas doesn’t know.
Like the rest of Luca’s friends, he’s dead. And for some reason, Lucas can’t remember his former life, his parents or friends. Did he go to school? Have a dog? Brothers and sisters?
If only he could recall his former life, maybe even reach out to his parents, haunt them.
When a ghost hunter determines to shut the show down, Lucas realizes the life he has might soon be over. And without a connection to his family, he will have nothing. There’s little time and Lucas has much to do. Can he win the love of Columbine, the show’s enchanting fifteen-year-old mystic? Can he outwit the forces of life and death that thwart his efforts to find his family?
Keep the lights on! Lucas Mackenzie’s coming to town.

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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:
“It's a fun story with wonderful, unique characters.”Lisa Cresswell, Author

“a great twist on the usual paranormal novels.”Erika, WS Momma Readers Nook
“The characters are lovable, the adventure is great, with some comedy mixed in.” – Sarah, Aphonic Book Reviews


about-the-author
Steve Bryant
Steve Bryant is a new novelist, but a veteran author of books of card tricks. He founded a 40+ page monthly internet magazine for magicians containing news, reviews, magic tricks, humor, and fiction; and he frequently contributes biographical cover articles to the country’s two leading magic journals (his most recent article was about the s√©ance at Hollywood’s Magic Castle).
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway
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Jul 17, 2015

Friday Reveal: Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins & GIVEAWAY

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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are revealing CHAPTER ONE of
Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins
presented byMonth9Books!
NAMELESS is in development for film by Benderspink! That’s the same company who optioned Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and produced the
I AM NUMBER FOUR film!

Jennifer is also one of the co-founders of Teen Author Boot Camp, and works with amazing authors like James Dashner and Brandon Sanderson to help teens master the craft or writing.

New York Times bestselling author Jessica Day George read NAMELESS and loved it!:
"Jenkins brings edge-of-your-seat adventure to this intriguing new world. I can’t wait to read more!”
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Nameless_450x675
Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors.

Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe.

What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.
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excerpt
Chapter 1
Zo couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t fear the Ram.
Even after the raid, when so much of her fear had turned
to hate, the fear still existed beneath. It was a foundation that
she came to rely upon. A constant.
Sleeping under a fir tree so close to Ram’s Gate went
against her very nature. While her body revolted, she couldn’t
think of a more appropriate place to be. Zo choked down the
beastly fear clawing its way up her throat and smiled like this
was just another assignment. “It’s time, Gabe.”
Her guard, Gabe, rested on soggy pine needles beside her.
His hands were tucked behind his shaggy blond head, eyes
closed in feigned sleep. He used to lay like that, with his arms
arrogantly thrown back and his chest puffed out like he owned
the world, when they were kids. The river would rush by
carrying rumors of starving clans and battles lost—heartache
that pulled tight strings of tension throughout Zo’s body—
while Gabe just laid back and chewed on a grass root.
Today, Gabe’s pretend-sleep didn’t fool Zo any more than
it ever had. They both knew he hadn’t slept soundly since
they’d left the Allied Camp a week ago. With eyes still closed,
Gabe frowned as Zo left the protection of his side to bundle her
bedroll. She crawled out from under the skirt of the enormous
fir tree. Its sweeping limbs that kissed the uneven ground had
kept them as safe as one could be in this godforsaken region.
Behind her, Gabe growled impatiently as he gathered his
things to follow.
“There’s no need to rush this.” He pushed the branch aside
and threw out his pack with more force than necessary. Zo
flinched, not used to seeing her childhood friend angry.
“You didn’t wake me for my watch again,” said Zo,
unsurprised. Ever since they’d left the Allies, Gabe had been
insanely overprotective.
“You need your sleep.”
“And you don’t?”
Gabe sighed and scooped a blob of mud from the newly
thawed earth. He frowned and smeared it along the curved
planes of Zo’s face and neck. The cool mud felt surprisingly
comforting, but it could have just been Gabe’s touch. His
capable hands shook while lines of worry deepened across his
brow.
“This won’t work.” He stopped and cupped his muddy
hand at the base of her neck, his blue eyes pleading. “You’re
too pretty. A little mud can’t change that.”
Zo yanked on the sleeve of her shirt until the seam split then
ripped and frayed the cuff of her pant legs. Young, unarmed
women just didn’t go on casual strolls through the perilous
hills of the Ram. Commander Laden said she needed to look
desperate if she wanted them to believe her story. Her lie.
As if looking desperate is hard, Zo thought.
Gabe stood a full head taller than Zo. Despite his large
frame, he could outrun a jackrabbit and his mind was just as
quick. A valuable weapon for the Allies. But with all of his
abilities, he was not the one walking into the lion’s den this
morning.
He untwisted the strap of Zo’s medical satchel and let out a
long breath before dropping his hands to his sides.
“I’ll miss you,” said Zo. Her voice carried the mechanical
cadence she’d adopted several years ago. A small part of her—
the part that wasn’t dead—hated disappointing Gabe. He’d
done so much for her and her little sister, Tess, since they’d
journeyed from the Valley of Wolves to live with Commander
Laden and the Allies.
Thinking of her wild, eight-year-old sister brought a
temporary smile to Zo’s muddied face. She couldn’t think of
Tess and not imagine her tromping through the forest trying
to catch squirrels and sneak up on rabbits. It was her second
favorite thing to do, next to following Zo around the Allied
Camp. The little tick wouldn’t take her absence well. Zo had
left a note and arranged for her care, but that didn’t mean the
kid wouldn’t be furious.
Gabe pressed his cold hands to Zo’s face and forced her to
look at him. “Come back with me, Zo. Let Commander Laden
send someone else. Someone with less to lose.”
“We’re not doing this again.” Zo pulled away. She had
begged for this mission, and she would see it through. No
matter what the cost. The Allies desperately needed information
that only she could provide, if they hoped to defeat the most
powerful military force in the region.
Gabe’s hands curled into fists. His voice rose to carry over
the wind that whipped his unruly hair. “Entering Ram’s Gate
is suicide! We don’t even know if you can get the information
Laden’s after.”
The truth was far worse than Gabe could possibly know.
He hadn’t heard what life would be like inside the Gate. They
would eventually discover her, and once they did, they’d kill
her. Plain and simple.
There were worse things a person could endure.
She’d do anything for the Cause.
“Goodbye, Gabe.” She kissed his frozen, whiskered cheek.
His hand clamped down on Zo’s wrist and he yanked her
into a fierce embrace. “I’ll be close, waiting to help you escape
the minute you send word.” He smoothed down her wild, dark
hair. “I’ll find a way to keep you safe, Zo. I swear it.”
Zo forced a hollow smile, for Gabe’s sake. “Look after
Tess. Tell her I’m doing this for her. Tell her I’m doing it for
our parents.”
She left Gabe standing frozen in the low light of morning.
After a hard climb, Zo reached the towering wall of Ram’s
Gate. The wall was comprised of redwood logs at least four
feet in diameter and fifty feet tall, bound together with heavy
rope and shaved to a point at the top. Black tar and broken
glass glimmered along the high rim of the wall to discourage
clans foolish enough to attack, and souls brave enough to dare
escape.
Zo looked right and left and saw no end to the wall through
the thick maze of aspen and evergreens. From her training with
Commander Laden, she knew the giant wall ran for miles in
each direction until it reached the cliffs that dropped off to the
freezing ocean below. Inside the wall were hundreds of acres
of farmlands, mountainous forests, and enough homes to house
thousands of Ram and the slaves they called “Nameless.”
Calmer than a sane person should be, Zo dropped to her
knees in the shadow of the ominous wall. Knowing these
might be the last free moments of her life, she allowed herself
to think about things that were normally buried deep within
her. The memory of her mother’s soft skin. The safety of her
father’s smile. Tess’ dimples and her eagerness to please,
despite her stubborn ways.
The moment was as sweet as it was brief. But it was hers.
Deep-voiced drums boomed and the enormous gate rose
inch by inch. Men shouted orders and whips cracked. Through
the gap of the slow-rising gate she saw at least forty men in
tattered animal hides with harnesses on their backs. They
slipped through mud while struggling to turn a giant wheel
connected to a thick chain to raise the gate.
The Nameless. The Ram had kept slaves for hundreds of
years, some were captured, others came willingly, while most
were born into the lowly title.
Instinct told her to run, but fear and determination kept her
frozen in place. She locked the people she loved back into the
cage that was her heart and prepared to face her enemy.
Zo pressed her nose into the icy mud in a show of
submission. The drums ceased and the silence echoed in her
chest like a painful heartbeat.
The metal of short swords clinked against armor as men
approached. She peeked up to sight of a bald leader walking
ahead of a wall of six soldiers. His cold eyes seemed too big
for his head, protuberant like those of a frog.
“Get up,” the leader commanded.
Zo climbed to her feet but kept her gaze focused on the
man’s fur-lined boots.
“State your name and clan,” he ordered.
“I am from the family Shaw of the Kodiak Clan,” Zo said,
hoping her accent would pass. The Ram had raided one of the
Kodiak settlements a few weeks earlier. Many of the women
and children whose husbands had died in the raid would
come to the Gate, choosing to offer themselves as slaves over
watching their children starve to death.
The leader circled her. “Age?”
“Seventeen.”
A few of the guards in the line exchanged words. One
laughed under his breath.
“You’re too thin to claim the Kodiak as your clan. Your
jaw is more square than round.”
The sound of a young girl’s scream saved Zo from having
to answer.
“Let me go! You’re hurting me!” the girl cried.
Zo froze. It couldn’t be …
A guard dressed in full armor carried the kicking child up
the muddy hill and dropped her at the bald leader’s feet.
Zo’s whole body went rigid as her eight-year-old sister,
Tess, scrambled up to hug her. “I’m so sorry,” Tess cried. She
must have secretly followed them from the Allies, though how
she survived the dangerous journey unnoticed was beyond Zo.
“Tess, I thought I’d lost you,” Zo stammered. She hoped
her shock registered as relief instead of panic. “Don’t say a
word,” Zo whispered in her ear as they embraced.
“Who is this child?” the frog-eyed leader asked.
“She is my sister, sir. We were separated. She found me.”
“Clearly.” He circled the girls once more then reached out
and grabbed Zo by the throat, forcing her to the ground on her
back. His lips brushed her cheek as he spoke. “How do I know
you’re not a stinking Wolf? That you’re not feeding me some
story?” His breath reeked of stale cabbage and rotten sausage.
Zo’s heels dug small trenches in the mud as she struggled
against the hand tightening around her throat. Black dots
invaded her vision.
The leader smiled and licked his lips as if she were his next
meal. “We don’t allow Wolves through the Gate.” A string of
spittle escaped his lips and landed on her cheek. “Ever.” He
released his grip and Zo gasped for air.
Tess rushed to Zo’s side, her eyes wet with tears.
“With all of the clans mixing, it’s getting harder and harder
to sort the wheat from the tares. I can’t take any chances …
” He shrugged and nodded to his guard. The men moved in,
pulling the sisters apart. Tess let out a shrill cry. A guard struck
her tiny cheek.
“Please!” Zo fought against firm hands digging into her
arms. “I come from three generations of healers. My sister is
learning too. We beg the mercy of the Ram, and pledge our
lives to your service!”
The Gate Master held up a hand, and his men threw Zo to
the ground. His round, glassy eyes stayed fixed on her as he
grunted a soft command to one of his men. The soldier nodded,
bowed, and ran back through the Gate.
“A healer, you say?” The corner of his lip pulled up to
reveal rotting teeth as he smiled. “We’ll see about that.”
about-the-author
©NicholeV Photography, LLC 2008. http://actions.nicholeV.com. This work is registered and protected under US and international copyright laws. Any violation of this copyright will be diligently prosecuted.
With her degree in History and Secondary Education, Jennifer had every intention of teaching teens to love George Washington and appreciate the finer points of ancient battle stratagem. (Seriously, she’s obsessed with ancient warfare.) However, life had different plans in store when the writing began. As a proud member of Writers Cubed, and a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, she feels blessed to be able to fulfill both her ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction.
Jennifer has three children who are experts at naming her characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom she is secretly afraid).
Visit her online at jajenkins.com
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Jul 16, 2015

T4T: The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold and Of Breakable Things by A. Lynden Rolland & GIVEAWAY

T4T-Banner
Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!
Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!
You just might find your next read!
This week, #T4T presents to you:
The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold and
Of Breakable Things by A. Lynden Rolland
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
The Looking Glass
Find the diary, break the curse, step through The Looking Glass!
Fifteen-year-old Alice Montgomery wakes up in the lobby of the B&B where she has been vacationing with her family to a startling discovery: no one can see or hear her. The cheap desk lights have been replaced with gas lamps and the linoleum floor with hardwood and rich Oriental carpeting. Someone has replaced the artwork with eerie paintings of Elizabeth Blackwell, the insane actress and rumored witch who killed herself at the hotel in the 1880s. Alice watches from behind the looking glass where she is haunted by Elizabeth Blackwell. Trapped in the 19th-century version of the hotel, Alice must figure out a way to break Elizabeth’s curse—with the help of Elizabeth's old diary and Tony, the son of a ghost hunter who is investigating the haunted B&B—before she becomes the inn's next victim.
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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:
Curses, ghosts, betrayal and love. All elements to a perfect ghostly story..” – Jasmyn, Bitten by Romance
“I think one of the creepiest things about The Looking Glass was the way it made me feel so claustrophobic. It was similar to the way I felt when I read Stephen King's Under the Dome--trapped and a bit panicked.”Kelly, Reviewer
“It was so different and so beautifully written and detailed that I really could not put this story down and I felt as though I was there with Alice throughout the story.” – Melissa, Simplistic Reviews
about-the-author
Jessica Arnold
Jessica Arnold writes YA, codes ebooks, and is currently a graduate student in publishing at Emerson College in Boston. She spends most of her time in class or work or slogging through the homework swamp. If she has a spare moment, she’s always up for a round of Boggle. Given the opportunity, Jessica will pontificate at length on the virtues of the serial comma, when and where to use an en dash, and why the semicolon is the best punctuation mark pretty much ever.
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Of Breakable Things
A captivating debut about the fragility of life, love, and perspective.
When Chase dies tragically, Alex embraces her own mortality. What she didn’t expect was that she’d have to make a choice: forget the years of pain and suffering once and for all, or linger as a spirit and get another chance at life and love.
Alex doesn’t hesitate to choose; she’d follow Chase anywhere. But the spirit world is nothing like she expected, and Alex finds she's forced to fight for her life once more. For even in a world where secrets are buried much deeper than six feet under, a legacy can continue to haunt you—and in a place this dangerous, no one is resting in peace.
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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:
“I am so in love with this story.”Linda, Lala Toadstone

“This is one book that I can see being turned into a film adaptation successfully!”Victoria, Escape into Pages
The concepts and worldbuilding are imaginative and fun--and so well written!--but it was the emotions and characters that really carry this from good to great for me.” – A.M. Supinger, Author
about-the-author
A. Lynden Rolland
A. Lynden Rolland was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, a picturesque town obsessed with boats and blue crabs. She has always been intrigued by the dramatic and the broken, compiling her eccentric tales of tragic characters in a weathered notebook she began to carry in grade school. She is a sports fanatic, a coffee addict, and a lover of Sauvignon Blanc, thunderstorms and autumn leaves. When she isn’t hunched behind a laptop at her local bookstore, she can be found chasing her two vivacious children. She now resides just outside Annapolis with her husband and young sons.

Giveaway
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Jul 13, 2015

Book Review: Haunted Things (Dust to Ashes, #1) by Abigail Boyd



Haunted Things (Dust to Ashes, #1)
by Abigail Boyd

Pretty good ghost story. It was a bit predictable but was still really entertaining.

Haunted Things is the first part of the Dust to Ashes serial. In this story, Ash moves to a haunted house, the place where the Moss family murders took place. She soon learns that ten years ago all the members of the Moss family but one were killed by the oldest son of the family, who ran away never to seen again. The only surviving member was the youngest son, Aaron, who she soon finds lurking around her house. Ash decides to befriend him, while in the mean time struggling to get through high school and learning the truth about what happened ten years ago.

This is a great match for people that like ghost stories. There are a lot of creepy moments, living in a murder house is never dull. Also there is the whole mystery behind Aaron and his family, which for me it was a bit predictable. Then there are the school bullies and Ash's new weird school friend, who seems highly disturbed. All these elements are put together nicely to bring this story to life. There are a lot more things that need answers and I am looking forward to reading the next installment.

Jul 10, 2015

M9B: Friday Reveal: Into the Dark by Caroline Patti & GIVEAWAY

M9B-Friday-Reveal Banner
Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are spotlighting
Caroline Patti
author of the upcoming book, Into the Dark,
presented byMonth9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Caroline-Patti-225x300
Twitter or Facebook?
Twitter
Favorite Superhero?
Iron Man
Favorite TV show?
Friends
Sweet or Salty?
Sweet
Coke or Pepsi?
Cherry Coke
Any Phobias?
CLOWNS!!!
Song you can’t get enough of right now?
The Giving Tree by Plain White Tees
Who is your ultimate Book Boyfriend?
Gilbert Blythe
What are you reading right now or what's on your TBR?
Empower by Jessica Shirvington
Fall Movie you’re most looking forward to?
Dark Places
Caroline T Patti is the author of The World Spins Madly On and Too Late To Apologize. When she’s not writing, she’s a school librarian, mother of two, wife, avid reader and Green Bay Packer fan. You can chat with her on Twitter:@carepatti or find her onFacebook.
Connect with the Author: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

IntoTheDark_eCover1800x2700
A girl’s sweet sixteen party is supposed to be among the most memorable events of her life. But on the night of hers, Mercy Clare wakes in the waiting room of a hospital with no memory of how she got there. To make matters worse, she’s wearing something she’d never be caught dead in: her best friend Lyla’s clothes.

Mercy’s nightmare is just beginning. The doctor arrives to tell her that it’s she who lies in the hospital bed waiting to die. A trip to the bathroom confirms Mercy’s fears, as Lyla’s face stares back at her and Lyla’s curvy figure pokes through her tight clothes.

But finding out what’s really going on won’t be easy. Because if Mercy wants her body back, it might just cost her Lyla’s life.
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Jul 6, 2015

Book Review: Kill You Last (Thrillogy, #3) by Todd Strasser



Kill You Last (Thrillogy, #3)
by Todd Strasser

What a wild ride. I need more of these books. Why aren't there more?

Kill You Last is the story of Shelby and how her family, and more specifically her father, ends up the murder suspect of young aspiring models. Pretty young teens are going missing in her town and Shelby's father is their only connection. Now that he is a murder suspect more terrifying secrets are finding their way to the surface about him. Shelby needs to figure out who the true killer is in order to clear her father's name even if it means breaking apart her whole family in the process.

Another insanely good story by Todd Strasser. I really enjoyed how he weaved the web of this one with closely kept family secrets. Shelby was always chasing after a lead (usually a red herring). I loved how even though she learned all those horrible things about her father she never stopped wanted to learn who the true killer was, even if it was someone she loved.

All of Todd Strasser's stories were great so far. They have an Agatha Christie vibe to them that I really appreciate. I am just sad there aren't more books to his Thrillogy.

Jul 3, 2015

M9B: Friday Reveal: Chapter 2 of Serpentine by Cindy Pon & GIVEAWAY

M9B-Friday-Reveal

Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are revealing CHAPTER TWO of
Serpentine by Cindy Pon
presented byMonth9Books!
Have you entered the pre-order giveaway yet? With each pre-order of Serpentine, you will have the chance to select one of Cindy Pon's pieces of brush art !
You can find out more details HERE!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

SerpentineEbook

SERPENTINE is a sweeping fantasy set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology.
Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.
When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.
Vivid worldbuilding, incendiary romance, heart-pounding action, and characters that will win you over–I highly recommend Serpentine.Cinda Williams Chima, best-selling author of the Seven Realms and Heir Chronicles fantasy novels
Serpentine is unique and surprising, with a beautifully-drawn fantasy world that sucked me right in! I love Skybright’s transformative power, and how she learns to take charge of it.” ~Kristin Cashore, NYT Bestseller of the Graceling Realm Series
Serpentine’s world oozes with lush details and rich lore, and the characters crackle with life. This is one story that you’ll want to lose yourself in.” ~ Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of Legend and The Young Elites

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Title: Serpentine
Publication date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Cindy Pon
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excerpt

Chapter 2
Skybright cradled the woven basket to her side. She had left under the pretense of going into town to buy a new silk handkerchief and pears for Zhen Ni. In truth, she had her mistress’s bed sheet, hoping to wash it at the creek.
She and Zhen Ni had shared their morning meal of rice porridge and pickles in silence. When they spoke after, it was in hushed tones. She had fetched a medicinal tea to ease her mistress’s cramps, and told everyone in the household that Zhen Ni was suffering from a headache and needed quiet and rest.
The forest towered, seemed to lean forward in greeting. Soon, she was lost in its depths, making her way down a familiar yet barely marked path to the creek. It felt good to be outside the manor, today of all days. When she had asked, Zhen Ni had described the cramps feeling as if someone squeezed her womb in a tight fist, bringing waves of aching pain like she’d never experienced. Skybright remembered the heat she had suffered the night before in her fevered dreams, as if her lower half were fracturing then melding together again.
She placed the basket on a rock and shook out the sheet, picking up the chunk of square soap. Skybright sang as she worked, enjoying the feel of sunlight on her bare neck, where her hair had been wound into two tight buns low against her nape. She scrubbed the stain out and wondered how Zhen Ni was faring right now without her, wondered when she, too, would begin her own monthly letting. A lucid image of a serpentine coil flashed in her mind—a forked tongue darting—and she winced. Skybright scoured the sheet harder, until it was spotless, her arms sore from the task.
“It’s a nice morning for song,” a soft voice said behind her—a male voice—and Skybright leaped to her feet, turning to thrust the lathered soap in front of her like a weapon.
The young man smiled. “You’re quick.” He carried a wooden staff that was taller than he was, long enough that he could whack her in the head without taking a step.
She grimaced at her soap. “You frightened me.”
“I apologize.” He inclined his head.
He wasn’t more than seventeen years, dressed in a tan sleeveless tunic that revealed wiry arms. His slender eyes were near black in color. Skybright took a small step forward. He lifted his chin, as if in challenge, and she saw the angry red mark covering his neck, like a hand had seized him by the throat, burning an imprint into his flesh.
“You’re … him,” she said.
“And you are her. The girl spying in the tree.” He laughed, and it was warm and unguarded.
“I wasn’t—” She stuttered. “I was—”
“Chasing after a lost cat?” he offered.
She smiled despite herself. Skybright had never spoken to a boy so near her own age before, other than to haggle over the price of vegetables at the market.
“I’m Kai Sen.” He half bowed, gripping his staff with both hands so it was parallel to the ground.
“Skybright.” She nodded shyly.
He pointed at her washing. “I didn’t mean to interrupt. Do you mind if I rest here a few moments?”
Skybright returned to wringing the sheet, and he sat near her by the creek’s bank. Feeling self-conscious, she was relieved that he was gazing at the water. The thick trees surrounding them made it seem as if they were the only people for several leagues. He closed his eyes and tilted his face toward the sky, seeming content. She submerged the sheet, splashing the water just to make some noise.
“So truthfully, were you spying?” Kai Sen asked, breaking the silence.
She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. “My mistress talked me into it. She’s always full of wild notions.”
“Was it worth the climb?”
“I saw you.” She wrung the sheet, then realized her simple statement could be construed another way. She wasn’t normally so coy, but he truly was the most interesting thing she had seen during her tree-climbing escapade. Mortified, she considered putting the wet sheet over her head.
His dark brows lifted, then he laughed again. She liked his laugh—so full and unrestrained.
“I hope it was an easy climb then.” He grinned at her, his fingers searching for stones near the water’s edge. His hands were broad, darkened by the sun. She shook the sheet out, draped it over a rock, and sat down beside him, the staff resting across his lap a buffer between them.
“Why do you not look like the others?” she asked.
He cast a pebble into the water, and it bounced once before sinking. “You don’t mince words.”
How was she supposed to talk to a boy? Differently somehow? She hadn’t an inkling. All Skybright knew was that his nearness unsettled her in a way that she wasn’t able to explain. “My mistress says I’m too forthright.”
He flicked a glance at her, and she remembered how he had studied her from that great distance in the immense temple square, as if he could see within her. “There’s an openness in your face, yes.” The corners of his mouth quirked upwards as he pitched another stone into the creek. “I don’t look like the others because I’m not truly a monk.”
“Ah.” She furrowed her brows, but he didn’t look at her.
“I study and train at the monastery as a monk would. But officially, the abbot won’t allow me to take my vow because of this.” He lifted his chin. The birthmark was a deep red, like nothing she had ever seen, making the parts of his throat that were flesh-colored appear exposed and vulnerable.
“It’s only a birthmark,” she said.
His smile was rueful. “My parents gave me to the monastery when I was six years because of this birthmark. They were superstitious people from a rural village and believed I was dragged by the throat into this life by the hell lord himself.”
It seemed a cruel fate, to have had parents then to lose them because of something so superficial. For the briefest moment, she wondered about her own parents, where she had come from. “But what does the abbot think?”
“I don’t know.” His head dropped, and some of his hair escaped the twine and fell across his brow. “The abbot took me in, raised me for eleven years. I’ve never asked what he truly thought.”
They sat in silence for some time, listening to the rustle of the forest, the soft stir and hum of hidden birds and creatures. She found a stone and tried to bounce it off the water, but it plopped and sank. Kai Sen’s rock followed, skipping three times before vanishing below the surface.
“And you? You’re a tree-climbing handmaid spy?”
Skybright burst into laughter, sending a bird from a nearby tree spiraling into the clear sky. She’d never laughed like that with anyone except Zhen Ni. “Something like that.”
“To be truthful, I haven’t been able to stop wondering about you. Every time I meditated, I saw an image of you perched high in that cypress tree gaping down at us.” He chuckled. “It was the most unexpected and absurd thing I’d ever seen.”
“I wasn’t gaping,” she said, indignant.
“Oh, you were gaping. Fortunate thing, too, otherwise I would have thought some goddess or nymph had descended upon—”
“There you are! I wondered where you disappeared to.” A lanky boy the same age as Kai Sen ran up to them. “You’ll get me in trouble if we don’t head back now!” The boy’s head was shaved, and he was dressed in slate blue, like all the monks she had seen the other day.
Kai Sen stood, rolling the tall staff easily from one palm to the other. “I forgot the time, talking here with Skybright.”
She scrambled to her feet, embarrassed, and the new boy gawked at her as if he’d never seen a girl before. She picked up the sheet and shook it as a distraction, enjoying the crisp snapping sound.
“Close your mouth, Han,” Kai Sen prodded him in the chest with his staff.
Han clamped his mouth shut, then grinned boyishly. “Kai has the heart of a wandering monk,” he told Skybright. “I’m always herding him back to the monastery. First time I’ve found him with a girl, though.”
Skybright suppressed a smile as she folded the sheet.
“Brother, let’s go.” Kai Sen clasped the taller boy by the shoulder. “Before you embarrass me even more.” He turned and gave her a nod. “Maybe we’ll meet again? I’ll look for you in the trees?”
She laughed, shaking her head. “I don’t think I’ll do that again.”
“That’s a pity,” Kai Sen replied, and Han tugged him by the tunic edge to go. He grinned and waved once, before disappearing into the thicket.




Skybright had taken so long that she’d missed the midday meal. Surprised not to find Zhen Ni in her quarters, she wandered through the manor until she saw everyone gathered in the main hall. The two paneled doors had been folded open, letting in the summer breeze and light. Lilies in bright yellow and orange adorned each table, scenting the air with their strong musk. The red five-sided lanterns were already lit overhead. Lady Yuan sat with Zhen Ni beside her, chatting to another woman and girl across from them.
Someone had dressed Zhen Ni in a pale pink tunic and skirt. As with all her mistress’s clothes, they were intricately beaded, befitting the family’s status and wealth as successful merchants. Skybright noticed, with annoyance, that the jewels pinned in Zhen Ni’s hair didn’t match her outfit. It must have been her stand in, Rose’s, mistake.
“There you are, Skybright,” Lady Yuan exclaimed.
The guests half-turned to glance at her. Skybright bowed her head, but not before sneaking a long look. The girl was petite, with large eyes set beneath delicate eyebrows, and a round nose over a rosebud mouth. She was not dressed as resplendently as Zhen Ni, her outfit not even rivaling Skybright’s own. Her family obviously didn’t enjoy the same stature as the Yuans.
“Lady Fei and her daughter Lan have just arrived after a long journey. Oriole is fetching us some tea. Could you go to the kitchen and ask for the custard buns and nut cakes Cook made this morning?”
Skybright retreated, and hurried toward the kitchen, weaving past the fragrant honeysuckle and quiet pavilions in the courtyards. When she arrived, she helped Cook arrange the freshly made treats on a lacquered tray inlaid with pearl, before tucking a lotus from the pond among the desserts. It would please Zhen Ni. Her trip back was at a brisk, yet careful pace.
When Skybright set the beautiful display of desserts in front of the women, Zhen Ni caught her eye and smiled, having seen the blushing pink lotus. “It matches my dress perfectly,” she said.
“Thank you, Skybright,” Lady Yuan said. “You may go now.”
But Zhen Ni grabbed Skybright’s sleeve. “Do let her stay, Mama.” She flashed her most winning smile. “Skybright should get to know Lan as well.”
“Of course.” Lady Yuan indicated the carved stool in the corner. “Join us.” She passed the desserts on cerulean plates to the guests. “Zhen Ni and Skybright are almost sisters. The goddess left Skybright at our doorstep right before Zhen Ni was born, like a gift for our youngest daughter.”
“Mama, don’t speak of Skybright as if she were a pet Chow!”
Skybright managed to smother her smile, but Lan laughed, a surprisingly rich sound coming from such a small frame, and clapped a hand over her mouth like she had surprised herself.
Lady Yuan took a long sip of tea, her bejeweled fingers holding the porcelain cup just so, before setting it down with artful grace. “It’s my fault,” she said to Lady Fei, flashing a smile at Zhen Ni. “I’ve spoiled her, even Master Yuan says so—and then he does the same!” Master Yuan was a merchant and away traveling many months out of the year, but whenever he returned, his carriage was always piled high with heaps of gifts for Zhen Ni.
“You’re truly fortunate to have four children, and three already wed.” Lady Fei nibbled on a nut cake. Lan had inherited her mother’s small, full mouth. “We’re still searching for a suitable match for our Lan.”
Skybright and Zhen Ni pointedly avoided each other’s gaze. As the women discussed betrothal gifts and the best dates to wed for their daughters, Skybright’s mind wandered back to thoughts of the stream. Of the warmth of sunlight against her skin, and Kai Sen’s laughter. Of the way he had studied her with those dark brown eyes.




The next few days passed quickly as Lan settled into her new quarters, near Zhen Ni’s. She had not come accompanied by her own handmaid, so Lady Yuan assigned a girl of fourteen years called Pearl to help her. And all the while, Skybright and Zhen Ni were on edge, frightened that their secret would be discovered somehow. Skybright went to her mistress even earlier each morning, soon after the rooster’s crow. Zhen Ni was more pale than usual, and they took great care to add color to her cheeks before she greeted anyone.
Lan’s arrival proved to be a good distraction. Zhen Ni and Lan spent their mornings gossiping and embroidering before taking a midday meal, then scattering into the gardens to sip chilled honeyed tea. Lan was better at embroidering than Zhen Ni, but Skybright’s mistress proved to be the best with composing lyrics and playing the lute. Skybright couldn’t do either very well, but had the prettiest singing voice, and was often asked to accompany Zhen Ni as she plucked at the lute strings. Rose and Pearl stayed near, fanning their mistresses, as the summer days were becoming unbearably hot.
Skybright retired exhausted in the evenings, not having given further thought to her feverish dreams from the previous week. But tonight, a familiar tingling below her waist woke her. Terrified, she reared up and grabbed at her legs. They were still there, still the same. She gave a loud sigh of relief, but even before the full exhale, her flesh began to undulate and change beneath her fingers. Bones, ligaments, and joints warped and crackled, melted away, striking with that unbearable heat.
Smooth scales rippled over her human flesh, like dragonfly wings fluttering their way from her feet to cover her abdomen. She swept both hands across her torso, the clothes having evaporated from her, and gasped. Her snake tongue darted out, oppressing her voice, and she could taste the air with it; the whiff of smoke from the snuffed lantern, the bitterness of the gardenia musk Zhen Ni had rubbed into her wrists in the morning, all tinged by the scent of her own sweat and fear.
She fell out of bed, her long serpent body slapping the ground with a loud thwack. Crawling with her hands, she pulled herself up by the window ledge and lit the lantern. She saw the thick coil that began at her waist, just as the last time—but this was no nightmare. Skybright pinched the flesh of her upper arms, her cheeks, then where her hip should be, and the end of her tail flipped, like it had a mind of its own.
“No,” she tried to say. But all that came out was a guttural rasp.
How could this be real?
To her horror, a rooster began to crow. Skybright scrambled on her hands and slid the door aside, hefting her long serpent body, which was at least four times the length of her legs, behind her. She shut the door, fighting panic. She must leave the manor. No one could see her like this—a monstrosity. What if she never changed back?
She crawled awkwardly, using her arms but beginning to push herself a little with her muscular coils. Fumbling too long with the key Zhen Ni had stolen for their escapades, Skybright thrust her way through a narrow side door used by servants and into a dark alley. She had enough wits about her to tie the string the key dangled from around her wrist. More than one rooster was now crying at the morning light in greeting, and some neighborhood dogs responded to the cacophony. In desperation, she tried to quicken her pace as she slithered toward the forest, propelling herself more and more with her serpent length. Her lungs felt as if they would burst from exertion and terror, and a sense of overwhelming grief. She sobbed, but what came out was a long hiss. The mutt that had been barking ferociously behind the neighbor’s wall quieted with a yip, then whimpered.
She had never liked that mean mutt.
The jagged line of trees was a familiar and welcome sight, and Skybright snaked toward it, unused to her lower vantage point. Her serpentine body met the ground where her hips used to be, although she found she could rise higher on her coil if she wanted to. Swallowed by darkness, she made her way between the trees, tasting the earthy tang of the forest on her tongue. The ground vibrated with life, telling her how many nocturnal creatures were still scampering to their nests, even as others were just rising for the day. No humans were nearby.
Skybright navigated with only her coils now. Each powerful thrust propelled her forward, and her speed increased as she pushed her way deeper and deeper, going further than she had ever strolled before with Zhen Ni in their explorations. It wasn’t until morning sunshine glimmered through the thick branches of the trees that she collapsed beneath one, exhausted, unable to shed the tears that weighed heavy against her heart. Why was this happening to her? Curling herself up, her serpent length wound in tight circles, the sight turning her stomach. She shut her eyes so she could no longer see it.




Skybright woke from the feel of a hand pressed against her upper arm, warm and reassuring. Groggy, she opened her eyes and squinted. Kai Sen’s concerned face filled her vision, and she bolted to a sitting position, clutching a tan tunic to herself. It was long sleeved, thank the goddess, and she tucked herself as small as she could beneath it.
He sat down across from her, allowing some distance, folding those lean arms over his knees. The tall staff he had carried before rested beside him. His chest was bare, as he had given her his tunic. “Are you all right?” he asked.
She blinked, feeling woozy. “What time is it?” Her voice sounded thick in her own ears, odd.
“A few gongs before the midday meal yet.” The gongs set the schedule at the monastery, and could often be heard as far as their manor, if she paused to listen for them.
Skybright thrust her face against her knees, which were pulled tight to her chest. Kai Sen’s tunic smelled faintly of camphor wood. The wind stirred, lifting a corner of the cloth, and she clutched her legs harder, acutely aware of her nakedness beneath. Although Skybright was glad to see Kai Sen, she wished he hadn’t discovered her, like some wild animal, naked and disoriented in the forest.
“What happened?” he asked in a quiet voice.
How could she explain this away? It was impossible. Zhen Ni would be hysterical with worry. She had never disappeared like that before. The entire staff would be out searching for her. Skybright took a deep breath that shuddered into a silent sob.
“I can’t say.” She raised her eyes and swallowed the sour taste in her mouth. “I must have wandered in my sleep.”
“I’ve sent Han back for a robe. He … didn’t see you.” Kai Sen’s gaze held steady, and she was grateful for it. “When I found you, I thought you were injured or—” he cleared his throat. “Has this happened before?”
“No,” she lied, hating the way her scalp tingled from it.
“We’re leagues from town.” He lowered his chin. “I’m only glad that I was the one to find you.”
His concern warmed her, even as she shivered beneath the thin fabric of his tunic.
“I wish I had more to offer.” He smiled, and Skybright realized with shock that she wanted to flick her tongue out, to taste the scent of him.
In that moment, someone shouted from beyond the trees, and Kai Sen leaped to his feet. “It’s Han.” He ran, faster than Skybright had seen anyone run, and disappeared among the thickets.
Skybright suddenly remembered the stories of serpent demons, always women, who would shape shift after luring victims with their beautiful faces. Zhen Ni’s sister, Min, had spoken of them. Skybright recalled how Min had widened her eyes and said in a hushed voice, “She acts the helpless maiden, but when she has you alone in the dark of night, that’s when she attacks!” Min had leaped at them, baring her teeth and hissing. “The beautiful woman changes into a giant serpent.” Min threw her arms out wide to emphasize her length. “She’ll sink her long fangs into your flesh to poison you, then swallow you whole. And the worst part? You’ll still be alive when she does it!” Min gnashed her teeth and smacked her lips. Skybright and Zhen Ni had clutched each other during the tale, squealing and giggling.
Was this what she was—a monster of folklore? How could it be possible? She tightened her arms around her knees.
Kai Sen returned with a wheat-colored monk’s robe. “It was the best Han could find,” he said apologetically. “Here.” He stuck his hand out and turned his face away to show he wasn’t looking.
But Skybright took the opportunity to do just that. His chest and torso were as muscular and lithe as his arms. She marveled at how different his body appeared compared to hers, all hard lines and angles. He was as tan as she was pale, letting her know that he often went shirtless in the sun. Kai Sen’s stance exposed his throat to her, and that strange birthmark, which seemed to have deepened to the color of plum wine this morning. Skybright resisted the urge to press her hand over it, to see if it was indeed in the exact shape of a palm. She reached for the robe instead and wrapped it around herself, tying it securely at the waist. The sleeves were too long, and the hem dragged against the ground, but she was relieved to feel the soft cotton against her skin.
“Thank you, truly. To you and Han both.”
He turned to assess her, unable to keep from grinning. “I’ve never seen a monk’s robe on someone so—” He stopped mid-sentence, and appeared flustered for the first time since they’d met. “Never on a girl before.” His smile turned lop-sided, and she wondered what he had been about to say.
“I should return to my mistress.” Skybright drew the robe tighter around herself. “She must be so worried.”
Kai Sen nodded. “Let me walk you back—”
“No, you’ve done more than enough, I couldn’t ask—”
“It would ease my own mind, Skybright. Please.”
Taking note of the unfamiliar surroundings, she said, “Then I would be grateful for your company.”
Kai Sen drew his own tunic on and tied the sash, smiling. “I promised Han I would return as soon as I took you back.”
He led the way through the trees with dexterity, knowing exactly which way to go. She followed, feeling the soft earth and pebbles beneath her bare feet. What must he think of her? The strange girl who climbed trees and wandered naked in the forest at night. Her ears burned at the thought, and she was glad he didn’t see. Some time later, he slowed and glanced her way. “You are certain you’re all right?” He paused. “Your mistress … she treats you well?”
Humiliated, she colored even more. “They’re so kind to me. Zhen Ni treats me like her own sister.”
“Good. I’m glad,” he said. “It’s just, I don’t often find beautiful girls sleeping naked in the forest.”
Her mouth dropped, then she burst into laughter when she saw the teasing slant of his gaze.
“Not that I’m complaining,” Kai Sen went on. “But the last time I was caught undressed in the forest, it was because Han had stolen my clothes from the river bank and I had to return to the monastery plastered in cypress leaves. They were prickly. And didn’t do the job well.” He cleared his throat and grinned at her.
She laughed harder. “Han didn’t!”
“Han did. Don’t worry, I got him back.” Kai Sen laughed with her, and it eased Skybright’s heart. His laughter made everything feel normal and right again. She reached overhead to grab a sprig of cypress, sweeping her palm across the needle-like leaves, trying to picture Kai Sen returning to the monastery covered in them, and chuckled again.
They strolled beneath the cool shadow of the majestic forest, and Skybright remembered how the earth vibrated and hummed with life the previous night, when it seemed she could detect every small movement and animal near her within leagues, smell and taste them on her tongue.
“Do you practice forms with the staff?” she asked.
“I do. We’re taught to use an array of weapons, but I’m most comfortable with the staff.” He spun it from one hand to the other, without thought, by reflex. He wielded it as if it were an extension of him.
“But I thought monks were against violence?”
“Fair point. The techniques and forms help strengthen us not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. And we’ve been known to take to arms and go to war to defend our kingdom in the past. Then, there are always the demons.” He said the last part with a mischievous wink, but she felt both arms prickling. “We must always be prepared.”
“Demons?” she whispered.
“From the ancient texts. The ones that roam the underworld, the ones that roam our own world.”
“Do they exist?” She shivered despite herself. Kai Sen noticed and drew closer, but she wasn’t shivering for the reasons he thought.
“I’ve not seen the like myself. But the abbot believes what the books say.”
They were now by the creek where they had met the first time, not too far from the Yuan manor. “You’ve read these books?” Skybright tried to keep her voice even.
“We study them, yes. Why?”
“I need to—” She rubbed at her throbbing temples in frustration. “Could you research something for me?”
He peered at her, his handsome face curious. “If I can. On what?”
“The serpent demon.”
Kai Sen’s eyebrows lifted.
“Do you know anything about them?” she asked.
“Not beyond the usual old wives’ tales of warning.”
They heard the distant gong from the monastery and Kai Sen whipped toward the sound, his stance as taut as a tiger about to leap. “Han’s going to kill me.”
“I can find my way back. I know where I am.”
“It’s my fault. I took my time on purpose.” He grinned. “I’ll see what I can find. When can I meet you again?”
“Back here, in three days’ time? In the morning.”
“I’ll look for you, Skybright.” Kai Sen jogged back in the direction of the still reverberating gong. “Keep safe until then.”
She waved, sorry to see him go. Skybright wasn’t certain that she could keep safe. She wasn’t certain about anything any longer.
About-the-Author

Cindy Pon
Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association's Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. The sequel to Silver Phoenix, titled Fury of the Phoenix, was released in April 2011. Serpentine, the first title in her next Xia duology, will be published by Month9Books in September 2015. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Visit her website at www.cindypon.com.

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