Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stacking The Shelves 125

Week In Review
Review: My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
10 Sequels I Can't Wait to Read
Bookish Discussion: In Which I Reconsider Book Ratings 2.0
Exquisite Captive Blogger Caravan + Relay Giveaways
New on the Shelf
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark (Thanks Macmillian!)
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Marie Antionette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser (Thanks Nana!)
Robin In The Hood by Diane J. Reed (Thanks Diane!)
100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith (Thanks Simon & Schuster!)
Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper (Thanks Little Brown!)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Exquisite Captive Blogger Relay + Giveaway


Hello and welcome to my stop on the Blogger Caravan! Each day a different blogger is giving away a hardback copy of Exquisite Captive courtesy of Balzer + Bray. All of you will have 24 hours to enter today's giveaway. For a full list of bloggers and upcoming events check here the caravan will be running through December 4th so if this is your first stop there are still many chances to win!

The winner of yesterdays giveaway from Great-Imaginations is Tiffany Webb! 

 Exquisite Captive
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 7, 2014

Synopsis:
Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.
Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?
Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.
Goodreads ♥ Amazon ♥ B&N ♥ My Review
Giveaway 
US Only
Giveaway ends at Midnight EST 11/21
 Winner will be announced at The Quirky Reader on the 24th!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

In Which I Reconsider Book Ratings 2.0


Last year I did a post about reconsidering book ratings. I often have to get reviews up so quickly that I don't know if I will remember a book after a couple months. I may have rated a novel 4 stars when it was really a 5. Or a book I read during a blog tour and thought was a 3 was really more of a 2. So once a year I've decided to reconsider books ratings and today is that day!
Moving up to 5 Stars Status
I've recommended this book to so many people. It is witty, smartly written, and felt so real. I'm not even sure why I originally gave it 4 stars, it is definitely a 5! If it's not on your TBR list add it now!

The only reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 was because of length. It was short and I wanted more. But isn't that what books are supposed to do, leave you wanting more? I could have just curled up in this world White created and stayed a while. I think that is reason enough to give it 5 stars!
Moving up from 3 to 4 Stars
I rated this 3 stars because I actually wish it had been told chronological order. Now, with some distance, I can safely say the writing alone demands 4 stars.
Moving Down from 4 to 3 Stars
 
At the beginning of my review I said there are a lot of reasons Avalon and I shouldn't have clicked (space stuff, undefined characters, too much action etc.) and now I'm remembering all those reasons. I think I was being a little heavy handed giving this 4 stars, it was more of a 3, especially since I don't have any desire to read the sequel.
Moving Down from 3 to 2 Stars
This book was entirely set up for the next book in this dulogoy and now that Strange Chemistry is defunct I'm not sure it will ever be finished *Sigh*. I do so love The Assassin's Curse series by the same author though!
In Summary
This has become one of my favorite posts of the year. I have truly been looking forward to it! This frees me up to change ratings, which I find really helpful on blogs and goodreads, but have trouble sticking to.

Let me know in the comments

  • Do you ever go back and change ratings?
  • Do you find ratings helpful on blogs/goodreads?

Monday, November 17, 2014

My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories Edited By Stephanie Perkins

My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Edited By: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
I am not usually one for anthologies but My True Love Gave to Me might just have changed my mind. I thoroughly enjoyed this short story collection!

My favorite thing about this collection was that they all had to do with the holiday season. It was fun to see how each author interpreted the holidays.


The short stories contained in this anthology are:
1 Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
2 The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
3 Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena
4 Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
5 It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
7 Krampuslauf by Holly Black
8 What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
9 Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
10 Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
11 Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
12 The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 

While I enjoyed each of these stories I thought Midnights by Rainbow Rowell, The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link, It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins, and Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White to be standouts. 

Midnights is about two best friends and how they celebrate New Years and what happens when they both go to college and reunite again on New Years. It was painfully cute and poignant in the way Rainbow Rowell always is. 

The Lady and the Fox was my first introduction to Kelly Link and it was definitely a good one. The story reminded me of The Nutcracker, it had that magical Christmas feeling.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown was also painfully cute while dealing with tough issues like hoarding and familial abandonment. I love Stephanie Perkins style of writing; she immediately draws me in and makes me love her characters and this story was no exception!

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White was the only story in the anthology to make me cry. It wasn’t big tears it was the happy kind of tears but I never cry so it really surprised me. The story was about wanting to move far away and realizing the place you’re trying so desperately to leave is home.

Overall, I enjoyed this collection of short stories. If you’re looking for the perfect holiday read look no further!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stacking The Shelves 124


Week In Review
Review: Almost Demon by AJ Salem
Blogger Book Fair: Kimberly Gould
Blogger Book Fair: Patricia Lynne
Blogger Book Fair: K. Ferrin
Sing Sweet Nightingale by Erica Cameron Deleted Scenes Blog Tour + Giveaway
Blogger Book Fair: Emma Adams
Blogger Book Fair: Diantha Jones 
Captive by Aimee Carter Blog Tour + Giveaway
Netgalley
Zeroboxed by Fonda Lee
Edelweiss
Dancing With Molly by Lena Horowtiz
Out Of Control by Sarah Alderson 
A Work Of Art by Melody Maysonet

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas
99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Finding Paris by Joy Preble
Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Friday, November 14, 2014

Captive by Aimee Carter Blog Tour


Captive (Blackcoat Rebellion #2)
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: November 25, 2014

Synopsis:
For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever.
But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she's accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape.
As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she'll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in—but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price?

Pawn (Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: November 26, 2013

Synopsis:
YOU CAN BE A VII. IF YOU GIVE UP EVERYTHING.

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

Author Interview
How did writing Captive differ from writing Pawn?
I wrote PAWN and CAPTIVE five years apart, so a lot of my style and method changed in those years. It’s impossible to compare, but CAPTIVE was ultimately the most difficult book I’ve ever written, thanks to those years in between and having to get back into that mindset.

Who was your favorite character to write in Captive?
Scotia! Hands down my favorite character in CAPTIVE and possibly my favorite in the entire Blackcoat Rebellion series.

If Captive had a theme song what would it be?
Cheating and naming two: Lorde’s Glory and Gore, and Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood. They cover the two main plotlines in the book.

What was the last book you read and loved?
I read a story written by a friend of mine – Carli Segal – who is an aspiring YA author, and I loved it. I’ve also recently read Amy Finngean’s NOT IN THE SCRIPT and really enjoyed it. I’m currently reading A BOLLYWOOD AFFAIR, by Sonali Dev.

About The Author
Aimée Carter was born and raised in Michigan, where she currently resides. She started writing at age eleven and later attended the University of Michigan, graduating with a degree in screen arts and cultures. Currently she spends her time working on her new dystopian series, the first of which is PAWN. Catch updates on her website, www.AimeeCarter.com or Tweet her at @Aimee_Carter.


Giveaway
Each tour stop is offering up a copy of either CAPTIVE or PAWN, and one winner will receive a fantastic grand prize package including a boxed set of the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa as well as copies of both CAPTIVE and PAWN. Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open to US/Canada. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blogger Book Fair: Diantha Jones


Prophecy of the Most Beautiful (Oracle of Delphi #1)

Fantasy (Mythology) | Young Adult

She has a destiny so great that even the gods fear her. 

Constant hallucinations and the frequent conversations with the voices in her head, have earned eighteen-year-old Chloe Clever the not-so-coveted title of "Whack Job" in her home town of Adel, Georgia. Fed up with prescription meds and therapists, she wishes for a life where she is destined to be more than the butt of everyone's jokes and mockery. 

Be careful what you wish for has never rung more true. 

After a vicious attack and learning that her favorite rockstar is an Olympian god, she is thrust into her new life as the Oracle of Delphi, the prophesier of the future. Setting out to fulfill the prophecy she has been given, Chloe learns of how great she is to become, all the while fighting mythical monsters and trying to outwit the ever-cunning Greek gods who harbor secrets of their own. While on a mission to discover the Most Beautiful, she strives to uncover the mysteries of the demigod Prince who has sworn to protect her with his life…and threatens to win her heart in the process.

Buy Links: Only $.99! Amazon | Other Formats

Prophecy of the Most Beautiful Excerpt

Another three blizzard-filled hours passed before their help arrived.

"Och! Check this out!" Ace exclaimed. He had been leading the group through a tight thicket of snow-covered trees. Spotting something up ahead, he took off running.

"What the…hey! Wait for me!" Swindle exclaimed and sprinted off behind him, Bill flying overhead. Soon, they were all running to see what Ace had found.

"Thank the gods!" Dropper exclaimed as they emerged from the grove. Chloe bit her lip to keep from screaming with relief herself. Way to go, Apollo.

It was a cabin, logged and sealed in the corners with bricks. It had a timber wood porch surrounding three sides and a brick chimney spouting puffs of smoke. Flickering light spilled out of the cabin's tiny windows, promising safety and warmth on the other side. The others whooped loudly and leapt up the porch stairs.

Strafford stopped her when she tried to follow them. "Why did you ask him for help?"

How did he know?

She tried her best to pull away from him, but he wasn't letting go of her arm. "It's cold,” she snapped, "and it's snowing! We were freezing to death out there!"

"Bah!" Strafford grunted, releasing her. "They're demigods! They weren' gonna freeze to death, Red!"

That ticked her off. "I'm not a demigod! Dropper isn't a demigod!"

So it's abou' tha' wanker, eh?"

"Jealous, much? And what's your problem anyway? You can't expect everyone else to hate your dad just because you do!"

He groaned and pulled her by the back pocket of her jeans as she tried to storm away. "This isn't abou' me and Apollo, Red. This is abou' you makin' decisions without askin' me first."

"I don't have to ask you for permission to do anything!" She tried to walk away but he yanked her back, this time cupping her bottom with his hand to keep her in place. If she hadn't been so flustered, she might've slapped him, but…

"You do need my permission, Red,” he said, his face close to hers. "And if you'd consulted with me before you decided to ask a favor from a god without a tribute, I would've told you how stupid of an idea tha' was. Gods don't do anythin' without expectin' somethin' in return.” He let his voice drop a level. "And now you're in a god's debt. And believe me, Red, Apollo will collect on it, and you'll be questionin' whether the favor was worth it when it's time to pay up."
Interview

When did you start writing?
I started writing (seriously) in 2010 after I realized my life was not headed in the direction I'd planned for it to go, and there was a good chance it never would. Looking back, I'm so glad I made that wrong turn.

What inspires your writing?
The Quiet. Noise distracts, but in the silence, there are endless possibilities and an entire plane for your imagination to play around in. There's nothing I enjoy more than letting my imagination run buck wild.

What is the best part about being a writer?
The Tingle. You know, that feeling in your stomach when you're about to release a new book or have just come up with your next project. The feeling never disappoints and never gets old.

Author Bio:

Diantha was born on Thanksgiving Day so that explains why her mother calls her a "turkey." She spent the first 16 years of her life as an official Army brat (now she's a retired one), and has spent the last twelve years living in Georgia (Atlanta, then Savannah). She now resides in Washington D.C. She loves to read and watch movies (Quentin Tarantino is her fave director), and she loves cold weather and french fries (with cheese if possible).

Connect:

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blogger Book Fair: Emma Adams

Darkness Watching

Supernatural/Paranormal | Young Adult


Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back. 

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world. 

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is. 

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...


Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Darkness Watching Excerpt
A stream of faint winter sunlight shone through gaps in the blinds that covered the windows, lighting the myriad dust motes in the air. I sighed and tilted my head back, rubbing my temples to keep my eyes from closing. I could feel a headache building.

A pair of eyes appeared amongst the rafters and stared right into mine. They gleamed violet, with vertically slit pupils like a cat's. They blinked, looking down at the confusion below. Then they locked back onto me.

Once, when I'd cut my finger on a kitchen knife, I'd gone into shock and nearly passed out. My vision turned blue around the edges, and everything acquired an odd, blurred quality. Right now, looking into those sinister, alien eyes, I felt exactly the same.

I'm going mad. It's not real. Cara's superstitions have made me start seeing things. That, or the lack of sleep.

I'd stopped breathing. Sweat beaded on my forehead, but, at the same time, I felt cold all over, cold as the frigid December air outside. As if fresh snow covered me, slowly seeping into my skin through my hoodie and jeans. Like the kind of paralysing chill I associated with that moment in horror stories when someone saw a ghost.

Was it a ghost? I'd always thought ghosts would look… human. If I believed in them—which, up until now, I thought I didn't.

All around me, the other students chatted and laughed. No one screamed, cried, or ran for the doors. It was as though my own private bubble of horror enclosed me like the cage I'd envisioned earlier. Trapped.

I heard a faint whisper, almost like a breath: "Ash."

I would have screamed if I'd been capable of making a sound. I knew beyond doubt that those eyes and that voice belonged to something that wasn't human.

The eyes blinked again, becoming part of the shadow once more as the hall lights came back on. For a moment, a swathe of blackness remained in the rafters, like a single patch of mist left behind after a fog has lifted. Not a single speck of dust disturbed the area around it.

Then it vanished.

I still couldn't breathe. Those cold eyes remained imprinted on the insides of my eyelids—light purple, glowing, and staring.

Staring at me.
Interview


When did you start writing?
Writing and stories have been part of my life from as long as I can remember. I’ve always written, but it was when I was ten that my teacher first suggested that I could be a writer. And that was it: I knew what I wanted to do with my life! But it wasn’t until I was 14 or 15 that I started writing novels, and I was 18 when I first started submitting my books to agents and publishers. I signed my contract to publish DARKNESS WATCHING with Curiosity Quills in February 2013, while I was in my third year at university, and I haven't looked back!


What inspires your writing?
I get my inspiration from everywhere! I read extensively (often a book a day), I travel, I research obscure topics. I always ask questions, and I look for the strange in everyday life!


What is the best part of being a writer?

Getting paid to make things up and see my daydreams play out on the page. Now that's real magic!


Author Bio:


Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing bizarre, fantastical stories. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also entertained her creative writing group and baffled her tutors by submitting strange fantasy tales featuring dragons and supernatural monsters to workshops. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).


Now a reluctant graduate, Emma refuses to settle down and be normal. When not embarking on wild excursions, she edits and proofreads novels for various publishing houses and reads an insane number of books. At the age of 21, she signed a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills Press for the first book in her creepy urban fantasy Darkworld series. DARKNESS WATCHING was published in October 2013, the first in a five-book series. She also writes adult crossover urban fantasy featuring magic, monsters, and a ton of inappropriate humour.


Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sing Sweet Nightingale Deleted Scenes Blog Tour


Sing Sweet Nightingale
Author: Erica Cameron
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: March 4, 2014

Synopsis:
Mariella Teagen hasn't spoken a word in four years.
She pledged her voice to Orane, the man she loves—someone she only sees in her dreams. Each night, she escapes to Paradise, the world Orane created for her, and she sings for him. Mariella never believed she could stay in Paradise longer than a night, but two weeks before her eighteenth birthday, Orane hints that she may be able to stay forever.
Hudson Vincent made a pledge to never fight again.
Calease, the creature who created his dream world, swore that giving up violence would protect Hudson. But when his vow caused the death of his little brother, Hudson turned his grief on Calease and destroyed the dream world. The battle left him with new abilities and disturbing visions of a silent girl in grave danger—Mariella.
Now, Hudson is fighting to save Mariella's life while she fights to give it away. And he must find a way to show her Orane’s true intentions before she is lost to Paradise forever.
Deleted Scene 
Hudson
“You’re a modern day Anne Sullivan,” Dana says as we walk through Walmart Sunday afternoon. Mariella walks beside us and only rolls her eyes when she hears the comment. “Roll your eyes all you want, Mari, but Hudson has gotten you out of the house on a weekend. Twice. The last time I tried, you threw a shoe at my head, honey.”
The aura surrounding her looks like blue fireworks against an orange sky. She blinks and stops walking for a breath, a frown on her face. The pause only lasts for an instant, but I notice it. So does Dana. She waits until Mari wanders a little away to absently finger a bright blue t-shirt before she asks, “She doesn’t even remember that, does she?”
“I don’t think she does.”
“Have you ever seen anything like it?” she asks, her eyes still on Mari who has wandered away from the blue shirt. Dana walks over to the rack, searches through the hangers, pulls one out, and tosses it into the cart. “It’s just that you seem to know how to reach her.”
I glance at Dana out the corner of my eye. It’s hard to tell how much she’s deduced. I guess it depends on how well she knows the Dowlings and how much she remembers about the years before Emily’s coma. But she’s not stupid, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she can see I know more than I’m letting on.
“I knew someone who went through something similar,” I finally tell Dana, keeping to the practice of telling her the vaguest possible version of the truth. “But, no. I’ve never seen anything like Mariella.”


Mariella 
I walk through the store but I can’t quite remember why I’m here. Looking around I see a blond giant leaning down to hear something my mother is saying. Right. Hudson is why I’m wasting my time here.
Something about studying Hudson from a distance appeals to me and I find myself watching him with a faint sort of fascination. I’ve never seen anything like him. So imposing and stubborn, yet damaged and soft underneath. The contrast between his almost white blond hair and his black eyes is striking, and the features that surround those eyes employ a strangely attractive combination of broken angles and soft curves. His obviously reset nose against the fullness of his lips. The scruffy, short, careless hairstyle against the soft curve of his cheeks. The strong jaw against the intelligent set of his forehead. If the rest of him is as intriguing as his face, I can easily see him as a favorite subject of a Renaissance sculptor. Plus, he’s convinced he’s riding in to rescue me from some impending doom, and while the actions are unwelcome, the thought behind them are kind of sweet.
I shake my head and look away. Loneliness is obviously addling my brains.
Two nights have passed with no word or sign from Orane. No tokens. No gifts. No letters. Nothing. All I have is Hudson’s constant presence. Only the reassuring glow of my nightingales to remind me that Orane’s love is not just a dream. But the longer he stays away, the more I need him.
The flash-headaches attack incessantly and with ever-increasing power. And they always hit in my weakest moments. Like when I first open my eyes in the morning and realize I’ve passed another night has passed without Orane. Sometimes it’s almost like there are words echoing through my mind—screamed messages I can’t hear over the roar of the pain—but I can’t decipher them. I can’t hear anything in those moments. Not even my music.
And that’s another thing. Orane is going to be so disappointed in me. I haven’t been able to find new music in days. I’ve spent some time looking, though not as much as usual, and nothing strikes me as worthy of my opera hall. Nothing seems worthy of Orane’s attention.
“Mariella?”
I look up from my inspection of a pair of ripped, embroidered jeans and see my mother and Hudson watching me.
“Why don’t you and Hudson take the cart and pick up some groceries, okay? Whatever you’d like for dinner the next few days.”
We follow her instructions, neither of us speaking as Hudson leads us through the aisles, picking up this and that and piling it into the cart. I pull at the tattered edge of my hoodie’s sleeve; it sort of reflects how battered and broken I’m starting to feel. Attacked from all sides, secluded from the one person who offers me love and comfort, forced to endure noise and company when all I want is silence and solitude. I’m fraying and pretty soon the last threads holding me together are going to snap. What happens then, I don’t know, I just hope Orane returns before I find out.
My mother meets us at the front registers and hums to herself as she pays. She’s smiling, too. I can’t remember ever seeing her smile. But, wait, that can’t be right. She hasn’t smiled in eighteen years? I listen closer to the song she’s humming. It’s her song, the one I sneak out of my room to listen to. My hand lifts and my fingers start following the melody just the pain strikes.
I can’t stop the hiss that escapes my lips, but I clench my hands to keep them from curling around my head and drawing attention to myself.
“I think she stubbed her toe,” I hear Hudson say, but his voice is far away and distorted, as though I’m hearing it underwater.
A tug on my sleeve and I walk in that direction, letting the gentle pulls guide me. The battle grows in ferocity and the first line of defense buckles. In desperation I grasp my pendant and my token, clutching them tightly and breathing deep. It doesn’t happen fast, but by the time we’ve reached the car I’m in control enough to open my eyes and climb into the backseat.
“Are you okay, Mari?” my mother asks, turning around in her seat.
I nod and look out the window, but not before catching Hudson’s eyes in the sun visor mirror. It shouldn’t be possible, but I think he can see it when the headaches come. Each time, his eyes lock onto me even before I react, almost like a warning system.

I wonder what the world looks like to Hudson. What does the world look like through eyes that seem to see everything when it looks like they shouldn’t see anything at all? 

Interview
Where did this scene originally take place in the novel?
Originally, this happened a few chapters before the moment Mariella purged her entire closet. It was a little bit of an explanation for where the clothes Dana pulls out of her room come from and a moment to show more of how Mari has been interacting with her parents and the world and also how much that has changed over the course of the book.
Why was this scene deleted?
Once the timeline and the course of events adjusted this moment no longer fit within the story! The progression of Mariella’s mental state and even the level of interaction she had with her family changed a lot in the new version and this scene (although I’m not the only person who loved it) just didn’t sit right with the rest of the story anymore. Even the follow-up scene where Dana reveals all of the clothing she’s been storing away in case of emergency changed from the way it was originally written. Only the concept of that scene is the same.

Who was your favorite character to write?
Horace and Dawn were always fun to write when they showed up on the page! They’re each so unique in very interesting ways and they’re both amazingly comfortable within their own skin. They say what they think and they’re confident in their intelligence and capabilities (while also cognizant of their faults and flaws) and are generally decent human beings. I’ve also found that readers are much more likely to accept a secondary character at face value and simply enjoy their presence. There’s a lot less pressure on secondary characters than there is on main ones.

If your novel had a theme song what would it be?
Without a doubt, “Blinding” by Florence + The Machine. That song is essentially a poetic summary of Sing Sweet Nightingale.



About the Author

After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author. Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, ex-Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works. Her debut novel, Sing Sweet Nightingale, released March 2014 and it was the first volume of The Dream War Saga, a four-book young adult series.

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