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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Charlinder's Walk by Alyson Miers (Blog Tour Review/Giveaway)


In 2012, the Plague ended the world as we know it. In 2130, Charlinder wants to know why.

The origin of the disease remains a mystery. Their ignorance of its provenance fuels a growing schism that threatens to destroy the peace that the survivors' descendants have built. Unwilling to wait for matters to get any worse, he decides to travel to where the Plague first appeared and find out the truth-which means walking across three continents before returning home.

Charlinder has never been more than ten miles from home, has never heard anyone speak a foreign language, and he's going it alone.

He survives thousands of miles of everything from near-starvation to near-madness before he meets Gentiola. By then he's so exhausted that the story she offers to tell seems like little more than a diversion...until he hears it.

Nothing could have prepared him for what he learns from her, and no one ever told him: be careful what you wish for. The world is a much bigger place than Charlinder knew, and his place in it is a question he never asked before.

Summary taken from
Length: 492 pages (paperback)
Source: ARC provided by author/blog tour company
Publication Date: Published October 16th 2011 by Creatspace

Alright, I'm running on about 3 hours of sleep because I've been in the ER 3 times in the last 2 days so forgive me if my review is a little less lengthy than usual. I'm going to try and hopefully succeed in making some sense.

Charlinder's Walk was a fantastic read and one I enjoyed immensely. Alyson Miers did an excellent job in terms of character development. I really liked the whole cast of them because they seemed to jump off the page, the whole story did for me actually jumped off the page and I really felt as though I was there with Charlinder as he was on his journey of self discovery.

I thought the overall plot was great, because Miers went about writing a dystopian novel in such an awesome and unique way. I was totally blown away by the way in which she wrote the whole novel. From the first page I was completely drawn into Charlinder's post plague world. I think that the author Alyson Miers is an amazing new talent and I wish more people were aware of her book because it is was a thrilling read. I hope she continues writing since she certainly has a gift for the written word.

I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone looking to read a great story especially those readers that like dystopian novels that are not all science-fiction like and a little more realistic. You won't be disappointed!

To "Add" the book to Goodreads CLICK HERE
To visit Alyson's website CLICK HERE
To visit Alyson's blog CLICK HERE
To "Like" Alyson on Facebook CLICK HERE
To "Follow" Alyson on Twitter CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Amazon CLICK HERE

Really Liked it!
★ ★ ★ ★

Bonus: An additional $50 gift card will be given to one random tour commenter, so make sure to visit our blog hosts, and leave comments. Comment on multiple blogs for more chances to win!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday #13

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine and is where we can talk about books we are looking forward to being released!

Here are my picks for the week:
Once Burned (Night Prince, #1)
She's a mortal with dark powers...After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude...until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world's most infamous vampire...He's the Prince of Night...Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don't call him Dracula. Vlad's ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.
Summary taken from
Length: 384 pages
Expected Publication Date: June 26th 2012 by Avon
Why I'm Waiting:
I love paranormal romances and I've heard amazing things about this author!
Starling (Starling, #1)
"Love is just the beginning... of the end."

Mason Starling is a champion fencer for Gosforth Academy, but she’s never had to fight for her life. Until now. When a ferocious storm rips through Manhattan and unleashes terrifying creatures onto Gosforth’s campus, Mason barely escapes alive. Without help from the mysterious stranger who appeared in the midst of the storm, she might not have made it at all. But now, in the aftermath, Mason’s life begins to spin dramatically, mystically out of control, and the only one who seems able to help her is the stranger who can remember nothing but his name: Fennrys Wolf.

As Mason and Fenn uncover more about Fenn’s past and the strange events that surround them, they realize that Mason’s family — and its dark allegiance to the ancient Norse gods — is at the center of everything. A predetermined fate seems to be closing in on Mason, but is it possible to change one’s destiny?

Readers who fell in love with Lesley Livingston’s Wondrous Strange trilogy and those who love Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series will be captivated by the sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action of Starling.
Summary taken from
Length: 352 pages
Expected Publication Date: August 28th 2012 by HarperTeen
Why I'm waiting:
I really like the title of the book and the summary has me really intrigued.
Timekeeper (Timeless, #2)
When Philip Walker appears as a new student in Michele Windsor's high school class, she is floored. He is the love she thought she lost forever when they said goodbye during her time travels last century. Overjoyed that they can resume the relationship they had a lifetime ago, Michele eagerly approaches him and discovers the unthinkable: he doesn't remember her. In fact, he doesn't seem to remember anything about the Philip Walker of 1910.

Michele then finds her father's journals, which tell stories of his time-traveling past. As she digs deeper, she learns about his entanglement with a mysterious and powerful organization called the Time Society and his dealings with a vengeful Windsor ancestor. Michele soon finds herself at the center of a rift over 120 years in the making, one whose resolution will have life-or-death consequences.

Alexandra Monir's Timekeeper combines breathtaking romance with a tale of complex magic in a sequel that will have every reader believing in the transcendent power of love.
Summary taken from
Length: 288 pages
Expected Publication Date: December 26th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Why I'm Waiting:
I loved the first book in the series when I read it a few months ago and I have high hopes this one will be just as good if not better than the first one.
Now, what are YOU waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer, Peter Lerangis

Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am


Ben has always had it pretty easy--with no acting experience, he landed the lead in his high school musical, and he's dating the prettiest girl in school. Haunted by memories of 9/11, he makes the decision to enlist in the army--with devastating consequences. Somehow nobody ever thought Ben would be one of the soldiers affected, but after his convoy gets caught in an explosion, Ben is in a coma for two months. When he wakes up, he doesn't know where he is, and he doesn't remember anything about his old life. His family and friends mourn what they see as a loss, but Ben perseveres. Although he will never be the person he once was, this is the story of his struggle and transformation.
Summary taken from
Length: 160 pages (hardcover)
Publication Date: February 7th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Last month I was lucky enough to snag this one from the library before too many people put it on hold since it was in the "New" pile and I had heard some pretty decent things about it. Luckily it turned out to be worth the read!

While the book is extremely short (by my standards at least) I thought that the author(s) did a bang up job setting the story up carefully and in a way that is accessible to read for the older and younger teens who may read this book.

The book itself was written really well. Since I really don't want to write any spoilers in the post for anyone who may pick it up in the future let me just say that the book was a commendable effort on the part of the authors. While there was a lot of sadness in the book there was also the resounding feeling of hope that lasted all the way through.

I really enjoyed how the whole book was written which is rare for me since I generally don't read contemporary YA novels. Since Ben was sent of to fight in the war it is a subject that touches home for many people not just the American people because The British and The Canadians are also dying in the sand with soldiers from other nations too. However the book makes a point that sometimes even if the men and women are lucky enough to come home sometimes they come back different.

This is a story of love, loss, forgiveness, redemption and the power of family no matter if that family is through blood or forged in bands of strong lifelong friendships. It was a dramatic and beautifully written novel that I highly recommend to those who enjoy contemporary YA novels.

To "Add" the book to Goodreads CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Amazon CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Book Depository CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Barnes & Nobel CLICK HERE

Really Liked it!
★ ★ ★ ★

30 Days of Night by Sam Kieth

Fright-master Steve Niles returns to the creation that launched his career for an all-new 30 Days of Night series, with warped genius Sam Kieth handling the art duties. Features an all-new cast of characters being introduced to the world of 30 Days of Night for the first time!
Summary taken from
Length: 104 pages (e-book)
Source: NetGalley ARC
Publication Date: April 17th 2012 by IDW Publishing (first published January 1st 2012)             

I love graphic novels.
Some of you might be, and that's perfectly fine. I know that not as many girls are into reading graphic novels much less reviewing them but thanks to Mr. Turning The Pages I now have a great love for them.
The reason I really wanted to read/review this one was because I loved the movie 30 Days of Night, and I've been meaning to give the graphic novels a chance so I had very high hopes for this one. However I was sorely disappointed.

Usually IDW has great graphic novels but I just could not get into this one at all. The only saving grace about it was the artwork which was fantastic. I just really wish that the the story line was better. I didn't like it at all. It was a quick read of course but it just lacked substance and felt to me as though it could have been a million times better.

I will however be continuing the series because I hope that it gets better as it goes on but if the next one is no better than I'll have to say so long, farewell to 30 Days of Night. I personally wouldn't recommend this one to many people except maybe those who've liked the other graphic novels.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.

Not for me!

Top Ten Tuesday #10

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week's Top Ten List is:
Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years

I don't know about you but this question is hard for me to just give a top ten list because there are so many books I hope people are reading 30 years down the road so I'm going to pick some of my favourites just because I loved them so much.
The List (In no particular order)

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1)
(The whole series)
I love this series and I really hope that people are still reading it 30 years from now because of how cozy they are.

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)
(The whole series)
This series is awesome. I love it and I fully intend on keeping my copies as long as I can. Who knows, maybe I'll still be re-reading them in 30 years.

Virgin River (Virgin River, #1)
(The whole series)
I love this series, I really, really do. Robyn Carr in my opinion writes the best contemporary romances with just enough heat to make me love them. Everytime I read one of her books I feel like I'm coming home to old friends and family.

The Terror
960 pages.
The longest book I've read to date. This book was absolutely PHENOMENAL! I loved the historical fiction part of the novel and the fact that there was a monster killing people just made it even more fantastic to me. (I'm kind of a dark person believe it or not). I really hope people are re-reading this one.

Disturbing, yet beautifully written. That's how I would best describe this book. Though the topic is taboo I think it should go down in the history books as one that stays popular.

Part of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of Africa
This was a great read and one that well and truly inspired me. I hope more people read it now and in the future.

Still Missing
A great debut novel by a fellow Canadian. The story is hard to read for some but well worth it.

I Dare to Say: African Women Share Their Stories of Hope and Survival
One that illustrates how fortunate those of us who live in the "West" are. This book broke my heart and inspired me.

The Men Who Killed Me: Rwandan Survivors of Sexual Violence
This book ripped me apart, and the pain the women and the one man who chose to recount his experience during the 1994 genocide of Rwanda was sharp and deep. I'm not afraid to say that I bawled my eyes out for these people...I hope people still read this book 30 years from now. The atrocities of the past musn't ever be forgotten lest they're likely to occur again.

Island Of Wings
This was an amazing work of historical fiction because it is also based on fact. This is probably one of my favourite books ever in the genre.

What are YOUR Top Ten books published in the last 10 years that YOU want people to still be reading in 30 years?

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? #15

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey and is a great way for others to find out what you are planning to read this week and, best of all, see what others are reading.
Last week I read and finished:

Outlander (Outlander, #1) by Diana Gabaldon (which was my SECOND time reading it)

This Week I Plan to Read:

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)

Charlinder's Walk
And maybe something else if I have the time. Who knows!

What are YOU reading this week?

What do you think about what I'm reading?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Forbidden Claim by Kelly Gendron *Book Tour Review/Exerpt*


US Marshall Jinx Collins is an outspoken, free-spirited, and fearless woman. It's that same fearlessness, however, that tends to get her into trouble. Jinx questions her life prior to being adopted. When those questions lead her to a murderer who's about to be transported into the witness protection program, Jinx decides to kidnap him to see if she can uncover the truth.

Jed Kane has worked undercover in the human trafficking ring for years. When Jed accepts a job to disguise himself as one of his worst enemies and to take a ride from the correctional facility to a secured location, he certainly had not planned on being abducted by Jinx Collins. Jed's uncertain as to how he feels about her touchy-feely hands and loose lips-unsure if they irritate him or if they are awakening his badly behaving desires. Jed knows he must first find out what the fanatical little lady wants with a murderer before he can act on whatever he's feeling.

Straight away Jinx is attracted to the resilient and enticing Jed Kane-the only man who hasn't backed down from her candor. While Jinx discovers that the questionable criminal may be able to assist her in finding out the truth about her past, Jed vows to save Jinx from her daring self. Once Jinx starts to understand what Jed feels for her-he wants to own her-she demands that he succumb to the raging frenzy. Jed allows himself to seduce her body, submitting himself to that dominant need. But haunted by a world of unlawful ownership, Jed forbids his cold heart to stake its dangerous claim on Jinx Collins.
Length: 204 pages (E-book)
Source: ARC provided by CBLS Book Tours
Publication Date: March 12th 2012 by Red Sage Publishing

 I admit, it's been awhile since I've read a romantic suspense novel so when I got the invitation and saw the cover and summary I new I had to give this one a try and in the end I'm glad I did because I was really caught off guard by how much I enjoyed the story like and the characters.

While the book did have steamier bits I'm glad to say that the Kelly Gendron made a fine effort in order to make the story more than just reading about the horizontal tango. I was really happy that the book did have a fair amount suspense in it and it kept me interested in  the story line as well.

I also enjoyed how it was the female protagonist who was the one kidnapping the male lead because it's something I personally haven't read much of happening so it was an awesome change and I really liked the chemistry between Jinx (love the name) and Jed.

All in all I would say this was a great little romantic suspense novel for those looking for a bit of a steamier or spicier read. I'm really glad I gave this one a chance because Kelly did a great job writing her novel and it's the perfect length and ended just the way I wanted it to. 

To purchase the book via Amazon CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Red Sage Publishing CLICK HERE
To "Add" the book to Goodreads CLICK HERE

Really Liked it!
★ ★ ★ ★


Jinx sat in the chair, returning his harassing stare. His forehead glistened. His skin was flushed. “Hmm. Ya know, you don’t look so good,” she thought, and then said it aloud.

He swiped a hand over his forehead and got up. At his full height, he was a couple inches taller than Aztec’s six feet, and Jinx wondered how she’d missed that little detail too. His fingers came to the top button of the orange jumpsuit. He undid it, went for the second, and then the third.

Confused, she asked, “What the hell are you doing?”

“I’m sweating my ass off,” he said, continuing on to the fourth button.

“It’s cool in here,” she said, desperately hoping he didn’t intend to strip right in front of her.

“Yeah, says the little lady in her skimpy short-shorts and tank top,” he retorted before he started to unfasten some kind of straps at his shoulders.

What the heck is he wearing? She watched as he pulled the thing from his body. An empathy belly, like a pregnancy vest without the breasts. He tossed it on the table. From his broad shoulders, he pushed off the top-half of the jumpsuit. It fell to the ground, revealing his lean waist. He pulled his sweatshirt over his head, and his muscle-toned biceps flexed as he hurled it to the ground. Jinx couldn’t resist. She leaned in, anxiously waiting and hoping the tight t-shirt was next, but it stayed on as he started to step out of the orange suit.

“You’re certainly not Aztec,” she drawled in amazement, still trying to adjust her eyes to the new and improved mystery man before her.

With the last step, he kicked the suit to the side and gave her a fleeting look. “I thought we already came to terms with that,” he said, standing there in a pair of nice-fitting jeans.

“Yes, but now I’ve gotta come to terms with this.” She waved her bound hands at the tight, hot male body in front of her.

“With what?”

“With this. With you,” she said with one last wave.

He rubbed his beard until his fingers started to pick at it, tugging from the base of the thick hairs. The scruffy whiskers lifted from his face in one clump.

That’s fake too? It sure was, and the face hidden behind all the coarse hair was a heart-stopper. The man was exceptional, from his striking, deep-set eyes to his tan, ripped body. Those exotic eyes, strong cheekbones, virile lips, and set jaw, sparked a new sensation inside of her—something hazardous but incredibly exciting. Attempting to fend it off, she heaved a sigh. “This is just great.” She slumped back into the chair. “I've been taken hostage by a guy who looks like he just stepped out of a damn GQ magazine.”

He swept those dark sexy eyes over every inch of her body. “Looks,” he said, finishing the bold but rigorous survey to meet her eyes, “can be very deceiving.”


Kelly has been faithfully writing for three years but did write her first book ten years ago. She put it down to raise her son as a single mom and then picked it back up when she and her son finally grew up. That's when she settled into her adult life and started to seriously write again. She's dabbled with paranormal stories, but recently she's been on a Romantic Suspense kick. The recipe for the men in her stories: dark and mysterious, strong and confident and, of course, besides magnificent bodies, and shameless aptitudes, they must have a heart you want to rip out of the pages (or your e-Reader) and take to bed with you at night.
To visit her website CLICK HERE
To visit her blog CLICK HERE
To "Like" her on Facebook CLICK HERE

Saturday, May 26, 2012

IMM #10

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme from The Story Siren where you can share your new acquisitions. They can come from anywhere: through the mail, via the library, purchased from a store, or downloaded as ebooks.
I had a rather slow week here because I just haven't had anytime to visit the library or the book store  but I don't mind since next Thursday is my 22nd birthday and I'm expecting some books then :)
I got:
No Regrets
From Mary @ Sweeping Me
Who sent it to me as a birthday gift! Thanks Mary!!
I also picked up:
The Mongoliad: Book One
 from Amazon while it was the Kindle Daily Deal
and I downloaded about 20 free kindle books in the past week.
What did YOU get in YOUR mailbox?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dirty Little Secret #9

Dirty Little Secret is a weekly meme hosted by at Under the Covers. Every Thursday they ask a question hoping to reveal other bloggers "dirty little secrets"

This week's question is: 

What's the sexiest item of clothing a hero can wear in a novel?

What an easy question! A kilt of course. I love me some higlanders. Besides it's a well known fact that they wear nada underneath isn't it convenient for easy access?
What about YOU? What's YOUR answer?

Author Q&A with Michelle Scott

Author Bio

Michelle Scott is a writer of urban fantasy, fantasy, science fiction and horror. Her work has appeared in such places as Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, Afterburn SF, and Electric Velocipede. Her novel, The Dragons of Hazlett, was nominated for a 2009 Eppie Award.

Michelle has been a fiction junkie all of her life, but she didn’t start writing until junior high. Over the next decade, she wrote many (really awful) poems, short stories, and limericks.

A native Michigander, she attended
Calvin College in Grand Rapids, earning her BA in psychology and meeting the guy of her dreams. After marrying said guy and spending two years doing nothing of great importance, she went on to earn an MFA at Wayne State University in Detroit. Fortunately, her writing improved considerably, and since that time she has published nearly a dozen short stories in a variety of magazines. The Dragons of Hazlett is her first novel.
Currently, she teaches English at a community college in southeastern Michigan and lives with her husband and three terrific children, all of whom are addicted to fiction as much as she.
You can contact her at
mscott (at) mscottfiction (dot) com.


1.What made you want to write Straight to Hell?
I had always wanted to write a book series about heaven and hell because I’m fascinated by the afterlife. I was also drawn to Lilith Straight, the heroine, because she goes from being a shallow, snobbish woman who has no interest in spiritual matters to someone who comes face-to-face with the ultimate powers of good and evil. As she struggles, she learns what is most important to her and what she’ll do to protect it.

2. Did you always want to be a writer? Or, was it something that you just discovered you had a talent for?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I found out what books were, lol. Both my parents were natural story tellers. My mother would make up her own bedtime stories, and my dad was very good at spinning yarns about his family. I was lucky to be surrounded by books! After a while, I decided to start writing them myself.

3. What was the hardest part of writing Straight to Hell?
Letting Lilith make her own mistakes! Every time she would make a bad choice, I’d want to reach into the pages of the book and shake her! But at the same time, I knew it had to happen. Besides, I’ve never liked characters who are 100% good. In my opinion, the best characters are those who are both sinners and saints (but with the saint side eventually trumping the bad one). Character development is everything.
4. What is your favourite part of Straight to Hell?

I have always loved the part in which Lilith gets to meet with her dead mother, Carrie. Up until that point, Lilith had a lot of conflicted feelings towards her mom (I mean…who wouldn’t?) but when she and Carrie are finally able to speak freely, Lilith begins to understand what a great person her mother was. Crazy, to be sure, but great. I think the conversation gave Lilith a little closure.5. What can readers expect from the second book in the Lilith Straight series?
Guardian angels, a group of citizen soldiers known as the Great Lakes Militia, and a lot of temptation from the hottest incubus in Hell. Unfortunately in this book, Lilith also has to live with the consequences of the bad choices she made in book one.

6. If you had to pick your top 3 favourite book genre's and your top 2 books from each of those genres what would they be?
Hmmm. That’s hard! Okay, my favorite genres are: horror, urban fantasy, and science fiction. My top two books would be: Horror: The Stand by Stephen King and The Shining (also by Stephen King!). My urban fantasy picks would be: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice and American Gods by Neil Gaiman. And for everything else, I’d go with The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and 1984 by George Orwell.
7. What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
Finishing a book! As I’m writing, I never really know how a book is going to end until I write the very last page. Then, I know I have it right when I get that blissful ‘Yes!’ feeling. I always do a happy dance the moment I type ‘the end’ at the bottom of the last page. Even if a story or novel doesn’t make it to readers, I still have the satisfaction of having written a story from start to finish.

8. Who are your biggest supporters?
My family, most definitely. My husband and I have been married for twenty-five years, and I feel *so* lucky to have a guy who understands my need to lock myself away in the attic for hours at a time so that I can write. He built me an office where I can write, and he’s always the first one to read my books. My kids are terrific, too! They do have a tendency to bug me when I sit down to work, but they are so sweet and supportive. I sincerely hope that every writer has as strong of a support system as I do!

9. If you had could interview any author, who would it be and why?
I would *love* to talk to Stephen King because I’ve been reading his books since I was a teenager. I jokingly tell people that he taught me how to write. I’ve always wanted to ask him about his characters and his connection to them. It’s like his characters are his family (something I completely understand!)
10. Do you have any advice for people wanting to be authors?
Read every day. Write every day. Get out and play a little every day. J You can’t learn how to write without reading a lot, and you can’t be a writer if you don’t get your butt in the chair and put some words down. But at the same time, you shouldn’t let writing be the center of your world. Life is too short!

Thanks for letting me interview you Michelle, and for taking time out of your busy schedule!

To "Add" the Straight to Hell to Goodreads CLICK HERE
To "Like" Michelle Scott on Facebook CLICK HERE
To "Follow" Michelle Scott on Twitter CLICK HERE
To visit Michelle's website CLICK HERE
To purchase Straight to Hell via Amazon (available in Kindle and Paperback) CLICK HERE
To purchase Straight to Hell via Barnes & Noble CLICK HERE

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Bird with the Broken Wing by D.L. Richardson *Book Feature*

Link to full tour schedule: CLICK HERE

Title: The Bird With The Broken Wing
Author: D L Richardson
Genre: Paranormal, Young-adult
Publisher: Etopia Press
Pages: 147
Words: 48575

Book Description:
"When mortals make mistakes they’re forgiven.
When angels make mistakes they’re forsaken.
Angels may not reveal themselves to mortals.
But when the mortal Rachael’s watching over is hurting, how can she stay hidden in the shadows?
Guardian angel Rachael becomes trapped with the mortal she’s been assigned to watch over. Unable to watch him suffer, she decides the only way to free him of his inner demons is to break the rules about becoming involved, revealing her true identity, and applying divine intervention. But what choice does she have? Without her help, his soul will be trapped forever. Then a stranger appears, giving Rachael reason to wonder if his is the only soul in need of saving...”

Buy links:




She was a chronic worrier—
“I have a bad feeling about this, Ben.”
—and a touch melodramatic.
“This is suicide. It’s also stupid, morally wrong, and pointless. And did I mention suicide?”
Ben wasn’t listening. He was reaching a hand inside the open neck of his shirt. She’d spent enough time with him to know he was touching the cross on the necklace that had once belonged to his dad.
“Detached, that’s how you make me feel, Ben. Like I’m watching your life through a window.”
Striking up an old conversation was hardly creative, yet the feeling of not belonging with him was just as strong now. She gave a heavy, audible sigh but Ben wasn’t taking the bait. “A bubble. I live in a bubble.”
“Relax.” Ben closed his eyes as he sucked up a deep, dusty red breath like he was meditating on Mars. “Everything will be all right.”
As well as a chronic worrier and a touch melodramatic, she was also an eternal optimist. So she looked around in case she was missing something, but all she saw was proof to the contrary. She, Ben, and a few hundred others were in a convoy, crossing a desert that appeared to be empty, yet the drivers had dodged gun and mortar fire since they’d passed over the border an hour ago.
What this land must have looked like when it’d been fertile with lush, green trees and wide, blue rivers was hard to imagine, but she tried. Her eyes had closed for a second when a burst of gunfire to her right jolted them wide open again.
“We signed up for non-combat jobs, remember?” She wondered if punching him in the head would do any good.
Probably not. If her bubble-hands were too weak to smash through the invisible wall surrounding her, they’d be like wet rags against his thick skull. Plus he was wearing a metal helmet and she was likely to break more than a nail.
“We’re meant to be back home making trucks. That’s what we were promised we’d be doing. Jeez, Ben. Think about your mom.”
Perhaps he was. Perhaps many of the soldiers here were thinking about loved ones they’d left behind. Many of the men and women seated on either side of her had grave expressions, like tufts of unruly hair, peeking out from underneath their helmets. Or were they just scared?
Maybe a sense of duty impelled them to enter a war zone. Responsibility was her only motive; she certainly wasn’t here for the ambience. And she would rather have thrown herself under the truck’s heavy wheels than dodge her responsibilities. So with an dramatic sigh—in case during the past minute Ben had suddenly developed the ability to take a hint—she settled back into the role of accepting what she couldn’t change while wishing that she could.
A round of cheers sprang up from a group of soldiers at the back of the truck, a malevolent presence screaming as if newly born and was demanding to be fed. She shivered and huddled closer to Ben.
It can be the brightest day, but fill it with just one dark soul and the day is ruined.
She made a mental note to keep well clear of these soldiers. She hoped Ben was smart enough to do the same.
“I’m here to keep my homeland safe.” The tremor in Ben’s voice was at odds with his bold statement. She wanted to tell him he could’ve made trucks at home, but because his eyes were fixed on his boots she succumbed to the rhythm of the back-jarring ride across the pothole-filled road and held her breath, hoping it wouldn’t be her last.
Their convoy of flatbed trucks was carrying hundreds of troops, weapons, ammunition, Abrams tanks, armored personnel carriers, and Humvees to the compound, their base for the next six months. With any luck they’d move out faster than they were moving in. Their convoy was doing twenty miles an hour, but she felt as if ants could have passed them.
She wanted to laugh as she pictured tiny insects kicking up orange dust, flipping the bird at the drivers and shouting obscenities. Instead, she bit her lower lip. This was neither the time nor the place to flaunt her eternal optimism. Besides, she wasn’t sure she had any cheerfulness left in her.
“I still don’t see why we’re here,” she mumbled.
What made the trip seem slower, she realized, was the lack of perspective. Much like an ocean without any land mass to help judge distance, this desert seemed to stretch endlessly ahead of them. If only the drivers would go faster; it had to be harder to hit a quicker-moving target. She was tempted to grab Ben by the collar and pull him off the truck, but the heat was around a hundred degrees, and with all the gear packed on them—M-247, M-249, backpack, flak jacket, radio, helmet, goggles—it would’ve been like sprinting around inside an oven.
Sand began to whirl in all directions, marching up and down the convoy as if sizing it up to establish whether it could be swallowed whole. This was the most dangerous time for the convoy. The trucks had to slow to a crawl or risk running into each other or off the road. Their only saving grace was that the enemy was exposed to the same elements. So while the soldiers couldn’t see a thing, they also couldn’t be seen. At least that was her theory.
Time went by. Soldiers weren’t killed so everyone began to relax a little and make conversation. But when the flatbed truck passed a burned-out tank on the side of the road, everyone went quiet. Nobody could take their eyes off the ruins. Despite wanting to look away out of respect, she was enthralled.
Did everyone want to know the same thing she did? Had the tank internally combusted from the constant battering of the sun? Nice concept, but this damage had been caused by man. Judging by the looks on their faces, everyone knew that. When the eyes of the soldiers around her widened she guessed they had silently asked another question. Was this one of their tanks or the enemy’s?
They lowered their eyes and she had her answer.
“Do you think they got out before it got hit?” she asked.
Ben didn’t respond, but from the rear of the truck the loud-mouthed soldiers yelled, “Oh yeah, you’re gonna get it now, you freakin’ sons of bitches.” Cheers followed. Even if she’d known what insults to hurl at these soldiers, she reminded herself that she’d sworn moments ago to steer clear of these men. So she kept her gaze forward and her mouth shut.
Like a good soldier. A ripple of self-loathing rose and lodged in her throat. She’d never have guessed it would taste so foul.
Outside, the sand was swirling faster as though thrown about by a crèche load of bad-tempered toddlers, and pretty soon both the ground and sky were painted flame orange, crackling like an open fire. She was afraid to breathe. Soldiers pulled down their goggles to cover their eyes, but this action was a useless defense against the sand that bit into their exposed flesh.
The dust cleared, and finally, the convoy arrived at the compound. Without a word, she and everyone else began unloading the contents of the flatbed trucks—smaller trucks, enough guns to keep the war going for centuries, tanks, food, water and whatever other supplies they’d need for the next six months.
Breathing was difficult. This was the most physical work she’d performed in ages. When she stopped for a break, resentment at the lies welled inside her. Tears stung her eyes. “Forget home sweet home, this place is home sweat home.”
Each and every soldier was drenched from top to bottom from the exertion of working under the glaring sun. Their sweat filled the air; she could have sworn she was in a sauna. Optimism dripped off her forehead. She wiped at her brow and was surprised when her hand came away wet, not with sweat but something else.
No tears. At least not for herself.
After half an hour, a few companies got into the smaller trucks and disappeared, perhaps to do their hard labor in another section of the growing heat. Another hour after that, once everything had been unloaded, the company she and Ben were assigned to was ordered into one of the smaller trucks, and they too left.
A sergeant with silver hair and eyes was seated in the front. He looked the type who was too mean to have ever had a pet. For long.
“You pussies will stand guard at the hospital for the next twenty-four hours,” the sergeant bellowed. “You will each do two twelve-hour shifts, one shift inside the hospital, one outside.”
“When do we get time to shoot the enemy?” the kid next to Ben asked. For one so young his eyes were hard, like steel.
“Don’t be fooled. The enemy is out there.” The sergeant’s gravelly voice roared as loudly as the aircraft parading over their heads. “If you ladies find yourself in a threatening situation, well, you know what to do. Are you pussies prepared to protect your fellow countrymen?”
A roar of cheers engulfed the truck. If the enemy hadn’t known they were here before, they were well aware of it now.
“Shoot first and ask questions later. That’s what he means.” The kid inched his way closer toward Ben. “You ever shot a bear? They come at you even after you’ve pumped ten rounds in ’em. I’ve heard it’s the same with these bastards. You shoot ’em and shoot ’em, but they keep coming at you with guns and knives. All the while cursing at you in the Devil’s language. You got to be careful not to touch ’em either. Their blood is poison.”
“I doubt we’ll shoot anyone at a hospital.” Ben scowled and moved along the bench as best as he could without falling off the edge. The kid must have gotten the hint because he kept quiet after that.
Unaffected by the searing heat outside, the truck chugged along until it rolled up outside a hospital that had weathered grenade blasts and gunfire till it resembled a thousand-year-old relic.
For some, this was their first time on foreign soil. For others, this was simply another day at work. Yet everyone jumped off the truck and danced boxer-like on their feet as though something invisible was going to jump out from the air and snatch them.
The sky above was on the go with Apache helicopters, hellfire missiles, dust, and jet stream. On the ground was a different story. The air barely stirred. No sign of anyone or anything with a pulse, let alone the dreaded enemy. Aside from one or two civilians she could see sneaking peeks at the soldiers from around corners of shattered buildings, the street was empty. So why could she feel the distinct presence of something out there? Watching, waiting, and blistering with hatred at this invasion.
“Each and every one of you signed a contract with the U.S. Army, which means your asses belong to me,” shouted the sergeant. His eyes scanned the soldiers with no more than a passing glance, as though he already considered them obsolete. “Your mommies can’t help you now. So if any of you pussies don’t want to be here, you can kiss my red, white, and blue behind. Now secure the building and welcome to hell.”

About the Author:

D L (Deborah Louise) Richardson is an author of Young Adult fiction. She has run a secondhand clothing store and was bass player/lead vocalist in a band she helped form. Today she is a writer. The Bird With The Broken Wing is her debut novel. She lives in Australia on the NSW South Coast with her husband and dog. When she’s not writing or reading she can be found practicing her piano, playing the guitar or walking the dog.
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