I'm in love with this! The Cure's musical rendition of the romantic Adonais by Percy Shelley. One of the poet's personal favorites, it was written as an elegy upon the death of Shelley's friend, John Keats. Mary Shelley kept a copy of Adonais in her desk until her dying day. When the folded poem was discovered there, they opened it and found her late husband's ashes within. Okay, it's a little morbid, but oh so Romantic!
It's been a while since I've posted, but since today is George Gordon, Lord Byron's birthday, I had to share. Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE Byron, so to celebrate his big day, I thought I'd explain why I adore him.
First, he's the original YA rebel/bad boy. Born with a birth defect (clubfoot), he was very shy. But early on his good looks won him the attention of females of all ages, including (supposedly) his nanny. He had a slight weight problem during his youth, so he tried drastic diets to shed the pounds. He became obsessed with his looks as he tried to dodge the boys who bullied him...and won the hearts of the girls who found him irresistible. Shall we call him the original Emo, as well?
Second, I love that he pursued his happiness. Shunned by his father and plagued by an overbearing Scottish mother, he longed to travel. He went on the "Grand Tour," visiting Italy and Greece. He began writing stories and poetry, and his works earned him overnight celebrity. That, along with a title, made him even more irresistible to the ladies. Some say he might have been bipolar, and he claimed that writing was his only outlet. He kept his personal demons at bay through the hours he spent putting words on paper.
And lastly, I love that he stood up for his personal convictions. Even though he was a notorious heart-breaker (not always his fault), he tried to do right. He attempted to provide for his child born out of wedlock. And later, he fell in love with Greece. He was so enamored with the country and its people that he joined their fight for independence--eventually getting him killed when he died of malaria near the battlefield.
But what about his writing, you say? Oh yeah. That's pretty FANTASTIC, too!
I wanted to let you all know about a project the Diamond State Romance Authors have been working on.
This group of romance authors pulled together two collections of short stories compiled into books to benefit the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It's a large cat refuge that is doing amazing things for the rescued cats. Some of the authors include Elle James, Brinda Berry, Cynthia, D'Alba, Margaret Ethridge, Candace Sams, Gina Wilkins, Delilah Devlin, Karis Walsh and many others from across the nation.
All the profits will go to saving the lives of rescued big cats (tigers, lions, puma). The print volumes are now on sale at Amazon and would make great gifts. I'd appreciate any likes and tags and spreading the word. It takes a lot to feed and shelter the big cats.
Today I'm excited to host a giveaway AND a new cover reveal. It's CONJURE, an amazing new YA book from Entangled author Lea Nolan!!! Isn't it amazing?
About CONJURE: Be careful what you search for…
Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry--hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.
When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends--are lost forever.
I can't wait to read it! For more info about the book, visit any of the following links:
In two weeks, school will start here. The kids will be back in our library, looking for more Teen Talk Tuesday questions. I'll probably start off by by asking them what they did over the summer. (Hmm...that's a loaded question!)
As for me, I read...and read...and read.
I'm on the state committee for this year's Teen Book Award, so I was given a list of over a dozen different books to read during the months of May, June, and July. Then we discussed each title in an online forum. Our committee is comprised of public and school librarians. We can choose which genres we want to read, and then we're given the titles a steering committee has pre-selected.
I thought the experience was pretty daunting but worthwhile. The hardest part for me was scrambling to get the titles. They're all books that were published a year ago, so some were bestsellers (easily found) and some were nearly impossible for me to locate by my deadline. My chosen genre was "adrenalin," which includes paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy.
Add these books to the ones I'm already obligated to read for my editor, and I was reading about 3 YA novels a week. Somehow I made it through the whole "adrenalin" list, and found some new favorite reads. At the end of July, we were asked to rank our top 5 picks. It was a very hard decision!
I can't wait to share the best books with my students when they return. In the coming months, I'll be posting a few reviews on the blog. My favorite read of the summer was Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, hitting the stores this week! What great book did you read this summer?
ten-day countdown to total nuclear annihilation .
Box isn’t just a myth anymore …
seventeen-year-old Pandora Walker opens an email attachment, she uploads the
most frightening worm ever invented—and in doing so, brings about total
technological Armageddon. Everything from the internet to communications to utilities
collapses and suddenly Pandora finds herself on the run from Homeland Security,
the FBI and every police department in the country, all of whom blame her for
the technological wasteland sweeping across the U.S.. With the help of stepbrothers Eli and Theo,
her neighbors and the two hottest guys in school-- plus codes encrypted in a
world famous MMO-- she sets out on a
real life scavenger hunt that only she can solve. A scavenger hunt that pits her against one of
the most brilliant men in the world—the maker of the Pandora worm. Her father.
Only by unraveling the clues left by him in the MMO, and in real-world
places around the U.S., can they hope to beat the clock ticking the days off until
the entire planet is Doomed.
“That’s not the really puzzling part,” Agent
Lessing finally continues. “Especially
if you insist on your innocence in this matter, how is it that starting at
seven-fifteen this morning, someone from this IP address opened the twelve
different sections of code that make up this worm and uploaded them onto the
internet, one by one?”
Emily gasps and I want to protest. I want to tell the FBI agent that she’s
crazy. That I have no idea what she’s
talking about. But the truth of the
matter is that suddenly I do. I know
exactly what I was doing at seven-fifteen this morning.
The tentative fairy tale I’ve been building in my
head all day—the one I wasn’t even aware of until right now—collapses. I swear, I feel it shatter and my stomach,
though close to empty, chooses that moment to revolt.
I spring up
from my chair.
“Hey, you can’t go anywhere. Sit back down!” Lessing tells me firmly, reaching into her
jacket and pulling out her gun.
I don’t stop; I can’t. Even so, I barely make it to the trash can in
time. I don’t know how long I sit there,
puking my guts up, but by the time I finish, Lessing has put away her gun. Emily is looking at me in dismay, while
Mackaray and Lundstrom—who rushed in at Lessing’s alarmed shout—are wearing
identical expressions of smug triumph.
Even Lessing seems satisfied, and I know it’s because I’ve blown it big
It’s pretty hard to protest your innocence when you get
so upset by what they’re telling you that you hurl.
I don’t get up right away. Instead, I stay on the floor, my head resting
against the cool wood of a cabinet. I
think about my laptop, stuffed in my backpack, with all the incriminating
evidence on it. I think about what else
is in the bag—namely the pictures from my father that I’d shoved in there at
the last minute. All twelve of them.
I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to figure out why me,
and the answer has been there all along.
The psychopath who did this, the one who chose me as this harbinger of
destruction, is my father.
He did this to
me. Used my curiosity against me—and the
world—and turned me into a modern-day Pandora.
Like my namesake before me, I’ve brought a new kind of evil into the
world and there’s no going back. Maybe
Emily’s dad and the others can fix it.
Maybe they can’t. But either way,
I have a feeling that deep, dark hole they want to throw me in just got a lot
deeper and darker.
Every writing campaign I’ve ever partaken in for Amnesty
International flashes through my head.
Letter after letter about Guantanamo Bay. Sierra Leon.
Somalia. Story after story of Americans
taken to foreign countries and tortured because they’re suspected of
Even as I tell myself I’m being silly, I hear the
president saying the United States doesn’t tolerate terrorists. That’s what I am, what my father has turned
me into with a few strokes of my keyboard, a few picture downloads that I
thought were to celebrate my seventeenth birthday.
A cyber terrorist.
I reach for the trash can again as dry heaves shake my
What am I going to do? What am I going to do? What. Am. I. Going. To. Do?
Behind me, I hear movement and brace myself to be yanked
to my feet. But that doesn’t
happen. Instead, Emily settles on the
ground next to me and hands me a bottle of water. I rinse my mouth out, drink a few sips. Then she’s hugging me, stroking my hair. “It’s going to be okay, Pandora,” she
whispers to me. “I promise. It’s going
to be okay.”
I open my mouth, plan on telling them everything and
begging for mercy. Instead, only four
words come out. Four words I never thought
I’d say. “I want a lawyer.”
Mackaray’s eyes gleam with triumph as he crouches down next to me. “Pandora, where you’re going, lawyers rank
right up there with fairies and unicorns as mythical creatures.”
“You can’t do that!” Emily protests. “She didn’t do anything wrong! My father—“
“Your father is one of an elite few who could pull off
something of this magnitude, Ms. Wood.”
Lundstrom speaks up for the first time in a long while. “So I suggest you close your mouth unless you
want to bring a lot of trouble down on him as well.”
Emily shuts up then, her eyes wide and frightened as she
presses her back against the cabinet, almost like she wants to shrink
inside. The arms wrapped around me start
to tremble, but I barely notice since I’m shaking just as hard.
“She didn’t do anything,” I tell them, wondering if I
should just tell them everything?
If I should send them next door to retrieve my
laptop from Eli and Theo and get them involved in this?
Do I admit that my father is behind this and let
them arrest him, lock him up and throw away the key like they’re threatening to
do to me? But if I admit I had an
unwitting part in this, are they going to believe me? The looks on their faces say no, that they’ve
already made up their minds about my guilt.
My best bet, then, is to wait for Mr. Wood. He’s one of the best computer security guys
in the country. He’ll know what to do.
I shut down then, refuse to say anything
else. They keep asking me questions, but
I ignore them. Even when Mackaray grabs
onto my arms and lifts me into a standing position, I don’t protest. I’ll wait for Mr. Wood, I tell myself. He’ll be able to fix this.
As we wait, the house grows quiet around me. The front door opens and closes numerous
times and I hear the slam of car doors outside.
The rev of engines that mark the end of the search. Everyone else has done their jobs and now I’m
left alone with these three.
Mr. Wood finally arrives, with a police
escort. He’s all outrage and concern as
he wraps his arms around us, but it becomes clear very quickly that he won’t be
able to help me. He’s not my parent or
guardian and no matter how much he argues with the agents—he knows two of them
personally—they aren’t budging. But at
least Emily seems safe, and that’s something.
“I have to go to the bathroom,” I say, after Mr.
Wood’s been here about an hour. They’ve
told him both he and Emily are free to go, but he hasn’t budged. I know it’s because he doesn’t want to leave
me alone with them.
“Tough,” Lundstrom tells me. “You’re not going anywhere.”
“Jesus, Mike, she’s just a kid!” Mr. Wood exclaims.
“She unleashed cyber Armageddon—computer genius
trumps kid every day of the week.”
“Please,” I say. “I really need to use the restroom.” Even though I don’t. I just want a couple of minutes alone to
think, a couple of minutes where they aren’t staring at me like a bug under a
“I’ll take her,” Mackaray finally says, and I
almost change my mind. I don’t want to
be alone with him, even for as long as it takes to walk to my bathroom. But it’s not like I have a choice now, not
after I made such a big deal of having to go.
We leave the kitchen together and when I try to
head upstairs to my bathroom, he grabs my elbow and directs me to the half-bath
down the hall. The one without any
windows. I shake my head in
disbelief. They already think I’m some
kind of genius hacker-- now they think I can mastermind an escape from federal
custody as well? Who the hell do these
people think I am?
“Leave the door open,” Mackaray tells me when we
“What?” I stare at him incredulously.
“You heard me.”
The face staring back at me is implacable.
“Where am I going to go? There’s no other way out of the bathroom!”
“Take it or leave it.” Something moves in his eyes and I know he’s
waiting for me to leave it. But I won’t
give him the satisfaction.
“Does your wife know you get your kicks by
listening to teenage girls pee?”
The hand on my elbow gets tighter, his fingers
digging into my flesh until I start to see stars. He pulls me towards him and whispers, “You
don’t want to play games with me, little girl.
I win every time.”
I’m straining so hard in the other direction that
when he finally lets me go, I stumble, crack my funny bone hard against the
door frame. He laughs, at me and at the
helpless tears of pain that spring to my eyes.
I go into the bathroom, leaving the door partially
ajar. I turn on the faucet, splash water
on my face, blink back the tears.
“Hurry up!” he says after a minute. “We don’t have all night.”
Before I can respond, the lights blink once,
twice, then go out completely. My entire
house is plunged into an inky blackness.
“What the hell!”
Mackaray says, slamming the bathroom door open all the way. “Either get it done or not, kid. You’ve got one minute and then I’m taking you
back to the kitchen.”
I barely hear him over the pounding of my own
heart and the panic clawing through me, trumping everything else. Even my fear of going to jail. I hate the dark, hate it, hate it, hate
it. Ever since I was five and ended up
getting trapped in my uncle’s storage shed, under a pile of heavy boxes that
fell when I was looking for my Christmas presents. There’d been no lights, or windows, and I’d
laid there in the dark for hours, crying, convinced that no one was ever going
to find me.
Curiosity had been my downfall then as well.
Lessing’s voice drifts through the hall.
It looks like the whole grid just went down.”
“I can see that.”
Lessing must catch the sarcasm in his voice because she shuts up
In his voice is a warning and I know my time is up. But he stops abruptly and there’s a muffled
thump, followed by a slithering sound that has me imagining a bunch of snakes
sliding down my hallway. I press myself
back against the wall and try not to scream.
Something large moves in front of the
“Theo?” I whisper incredulously.
He leans forward, until his face is only
centimeters from mine. “Let’s go.” His voice is pitched so low that I have to
strain to hear it even this close.
“Out of here.
Come on, we’ve only got a couple of minutes before they come looking for
“Looking for—you want me to break out of federal
“Would you rather I leave you here?”
“I don’t know.
I—“ My head is spinning. Of all
the ways I envisioned tonight ending, this wasn’t even in the top
thousand. “Where’s Mackaray?”
“I hit him.
He’s out, but I don’t know for how long.
Now are you coming or not?”
Am I? I
look back at the kitchen, where Emily and her father wait with the other
agents. I can’t leave her—
It’s like Theo can read my thoughts, because he
says, “Emily will be fine. She’s not the
one in trouble here.”
He’s right; I know he is. But still.
Can I do this? Bad enough to be a
federal suspect—but to be a fugitive?
How is it even possible? They’ll
find us in minutes.
Except, the electricity just went out. Communications are gone. No cameras to catch us running by. No way to get out word of a widespread
manhunt (or in this case womanhunt). No
way for them to track me when they’re basically blind, deaf and dumb. It could
But still, do I really want to do this? Do I really want to go down this road?
Hell, yes, I do.
I slip my hand into Theo’s, not bothering to ask
how he knew I was in trouble, and we glide as silently as possible through the
hallway into the living room. He seems
to know exactly where he’s going and I wonder how long he’s been here, prowling
around the house, without anyone knowing.
He slides open the glass door that leads to the
deck just enough that we can slip out.
As he silently closes the door behind us, I realize this is it.
Rinn suffers from a bipolar disorder, which has caused her family to dissolve. Worse, her condition led to her grandmother's death, and Rinn is haunted by the memory of the horrible tragedy. After a suicide attempt, she and her mom relocate to Mom's hometown, where she hopes to keep her past hidden from her new friends, and takes meds for her condition. However, Rinn's new house hides secrets of its own. Rinn questions her sanity as strange things also happen at school. Her friends share the story of a girl who drowned in the school swimming pool years earlier. Are the bizarre events in the darkened tunnel Rinn's imagination, or is the dead girl still trapped inside the condemned building?
This gothic story reminded me of an old-school horror movie, complete with a seance, a ghost, and gruesome deaths. The beginning was a little slow, but once I learned about Rinn's history, I could identify with her. Her disorder gave the story a lot of tension, and I found myself unable to stop reading. I knew early in the story what was happening and why, but there was enough happening to the characters that I didn't care. I wanted to know what ordeals they would face. Again, just like an old high school horror flick.
I enjoyed the story immensely, and look forward to more by this author. This is a fun, creepy read with an interesting protagonist.
Reviewer copy provided by Bloomsbury and Netgalley.