Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First Chapter Excerpt for Falling In Between

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F One F

My wet skin shivered as I cowered atop the cliff, even though the wind was as still as my breath. What was worse, I couldn’t stop my head from bobbing side to side as Sophie hummed that stupid Jeopardy tune. 

      I felt silly being in lace lingerie instead of a bikini, but we weren’t planning on swimming when we trekked through the woods tonight. We were gonna accidentally run into Robert and Jhett at the river spot they always hung out at, but the closer we got the more I freaked out about getting Robert alone.

      Oh why did I let Sophie talk me into coming to the hidden pond first? She probably thought the detour would give me time to calm my nerves. But stupid me, I let her dare me into jumping off the freakin’ cliff as soon as we stripped. And as much as I wanted to talk to Robert, I secretly hoped she’d let me chicken out once I looked like a drowned rat.

      The humming stopped, and the sweet sound of Sophie’s voice was smooth as it taunted me through song now.  “Oh, Ja-hen-na!”

      Crap, crap, crap…

      I forced myself to peek over the rocky edge and look down – way down. There she floated effortlessly in the midnight blue pond, weak ripples flowing away from her pale silhouette,  playfully squirting water towards me with the squeeze of her fist. Sophie’s aim was dead on. Had I not been thirty feet above the surface of the water, she’d nail me easily. I’d welcome it gladly if it would temporarily blind me, cause me to stumble forward and complete the dare I had yet to fulfill.       

      I had never been afraid of heights before. Of course, I had never tried to throw myself from one before either. And the lack of moonlight in combination with the creepy, placid water was freakin’ me out right now. Also, I’m pretty sure that squishy algae thing skimming the surface was The Blob and it was gonna jump out and devour me once I did my face-splat.

      I moaned as I diverted my eyes to the milky white stars above. This was the third time I’d braved the path up the cliffs tonight. And it seemed inevitable that this would be the third time I did the walk of shame back down the way I came.

      “Jenna Baker! If you don’t jump this instant I’m gonna grab your clothes and set them on fire! You know I will!”

      Ha! Maybe I should remind her that the clothes came from her closet. Er, scratch that. Then she’ll have zero remorse for lighting them up.

      Sophie’s been a crazy friend and roommate, to say the least. I’m sure it was a little odd for her to room with someone like me. Like all the other rich kids at Pennington Academy outside Rutland, Vermont, she had everything at her disposal and an unlimited credit card to pick up what she lacked. And parents that actually called and emailed her every week to check up on her.

      Me? I barely had a penny to my name and absentee parents. Literally nonexistent. I was dropped off at a firehouse when I was only a few days old. All the babies born in the county were accounted for, so it was assumed my mother (and possibly my father) drove through Rutland to obliterate their parental rights. The only reason I could attend this swanky establishment was cause the academy sponsored a new student each year and provided them with a full scholarship. I didn’t care how many hoops of fire they made me jump through to get here, it was worth it to get out of those disgusting group homes. I even added a summer class every year just to avoid having to spend summer vacation in one.

      Fall session of our senior year began not even a week ago and already Sophie had convinced me to try something stupid. I came to my senses twice already and walked back down the cliffs, only to have her put on the charm and convince me once again that this would be good for me.

      Oddly enough, I actually did wanna jump, so it wasn’t all Sophie’s fault that I was up here again. And at the moment I was more scared to talk to Robert than I was to jump off the cliff. So maybe I could end the night with at least one fear tackled...

      I sucked in a deep breath and edged my toes forward until they curled over the rock. My heart pulsed so hard I thought it would break through my ribs and burst through my body like that slimy alien did to that man in that movie. (Did’ja see that one? Grody, right? – So what if I’m stalling? What are you, the cliff-jumping moderator?)

      Okay, maybe one more deep breath. God, just jump Jenna! I winced my eyes tight and flung myself into the void before I could think anymore about it. The feeling was exhilarating, prickly goose bumps and all, and I managed to brave a peek through the haze of my vibrating eyelashes. My heart gave one sharp pound, then froze when gravity took me. The wind whished and lifted me slightly as I fell closer to the glistening liquid below. The cliff and trees blurred, leaving nothing more than vertical streaks of muted tans, greens and blacks that resembled streaks of camouflage.

      Sophie’s cheer filled the air. I could sense the ‘finally’ in the long, drawn-out hoot.

      Surprisingly, I managed to point my toes and pass through the surface of the water cleanly. So smoothly that the slightest lift of my feet curved my body and sent me farther into the dark abyss like a missile.   Water whooshed as it streaked alongside my body, eagerly parting the way for my descent.

      I did it! I finally did it! Elation filled my body and soul for that one split second.

      And then it happened.

      My feet scraped the bottom of the pond and fire burned on my skin. Debris and dirt swirled about as I skidded across the floor bed, destroying what little clarity the moon’s glow offered underneath the silky surface. Weeds tangled around my legs and snagged my arms.  I tried desperately to slow the impact by digging in with the palms of my hands, but all I did was give myself more rock burn.

      My legs were crumpled and forced upward as an immovable blockade refused to budge. A sharp pain dug into my back as I bobbed up and down across the boulder. The jolt knocked the wind out of me and air escaped from my lungs. A cool gush of foul tasting water filled my mouth and trickled down my throat, causing my chest to spasm.

      My head snapped back as the last of my body shot past the boulder. I felt a surge of sharp pains shoot out from the back of my skull, then a soothing numbness. A heavy daze overcame my head and traveled down my arms and legs. The only thing that seemed to be reacting at all was my heart and it threw itself into hyperdrive. Thub-thump echoed through my stuffy head and pulsated down my limbs. I wanted to breathe, to move my legs and arms toward the surface, but nothing would obey the command. My chest blazed as my heart began to slow now. Thuuub-thummmp.

      My body lay lifeless above the clay bottom, bobbing gently with the ripples caused by my wake. I shot so far from where I crashed that the water around me wasn’t as murky here. My still eyes were swallowed up by the turbid liquid, yet I could still hone in on that blurry sliver of moonlight trying to lead me to the surface. It struggled to overcome the shadows of the depth, to reach out and extend what help it could offer and show me the way to salvation. But it wasn’t enough. My body was heavy – unwilling to move to save my life.

      I was surprised at how good the release felt. Never had I known that stress ate away at my body until it began to dissolve in this moment – little tickles that skidded along the surface of my skin. But with this soothing release came excruciating pain. The lack of oxygen caused my lungs to heave so hard a rush of water gushed down my throat. I tried to gag but my body was beyond that now, even though the water splashing in my lungs left me with the most unnatural, uncomfortable feeling ever.  

      The water around me darkened more, and it had nothing to do with the strength of the moonlight.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop (INT)

It's that time again!
Here at The Crazy Dream Blog, I'm giving the winner a choice of three prize packs.

Prize Pack #1
Any book(s) the winner wants for a list price up to
$15 from the Book Depository*
*If the book depository ships to you, then you are eligible to win this prize pack! Check here to see if they ship to your country!

Prize Pack #2
Copies of Ordained and Metamorphosis
(The Immortal Archives 1-2).

Prize Pack #3
 Signed copy of Falling In Between (ARC).
Expected Publication: February 14, 2012

All three prize packs are international. This contest will have four additional ways to to earn entries. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below. Good Luck! 

Check out the list below my header picture for more giveaways!!!

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Seers by Heather Frost (ARC)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...Seers
Heather Frost
Pub: October 4, 2011

Synopsis: For Kate Bennet, surviving the car wreck that killed her parents means big changes and even bigger problems. As she begins to see auras and invisible people, Kate must learn to trust Patrick O'Donnell, a handsome Guardian, or risk her life being overrun with Demons. She soon realizes that both she and her heart are in big-time trouble.

If the novel Seers had an aura, its color would be pink, with flecks of yellow scattered through.

Kate Bennet suffered from a life-altering summer. The car wreck that killed her parents almost took her life as well, and when she awoke from her near-death experience she began seeing funny colorful halos around people - halos Kate realized are auras depicting people's emotions. Everyone seemed to be a blend of certain colors. Everyone that was, except for the new guy Patrick, who's only color was something Kate had never seen before - a thin ribbon of silver. Most of the novel is told from Kate's point of view but occassionally we got Patrick's, who we learned was the Guardian assigned to watch over her now that she had become a seer and attracted the attention of some power-hungry demons.

Seers was simplistic yet enjoyable. It's been awhile since I felt the urge to sit down and finish a story within a day or two, probably because I was waiting for Kate to admit her failing relationship with her boyfriend Aaron so she could focus on the emotions that were building for Patrick. And I had no idea that this was going to leave a cliffhanger for the possibility of a second book! I certainly hope there is!

ARC provided by Publisher via NetGalley.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ashfall by Mike Mullin (ARC)

Mike Mullin
Exp. Publication: October 11, 2011

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Synopsis: Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.

Top Ten Things to Start Stockpiling in Case of Cataclysmic Event:
  1. HOW TO SURVIVE A CATACLYSMIC EVENT FOR DUMMIES. Has anyone written this book yet cause I'm thinking you'd automatically become a best seller once Ashfall hits the shelves. Perhaps Mr. Mullin would like to be a contributing writer. LOL.
  2. MATCHES. The world will very likely be a frozen wasteland for many years. Let me simplify: Heat = Good = Life. No Heat = Bad = Death. If you've never been cold enough for your extremities to freeze or hypothermia to really set in, trust me, it's not the way to go.
  3. GUNS and an infinite supply of BULLETS. Cause if you're naive enough to think you'll be immune from violence and looters, you'll be one less person in the world I'll be fighting over supplies for.
  4. SEEDS. Particularly seeds that can grow well enough in a greenhouse with freezing temperatures outside.
  5. CONDOMS. That's right, condoms. When doctors are forced to bactrack to times similiar to the 1800's, no one is going to want to get pregnant. I've had a kid myself and if that emergency c-section hadn't been possible, I wouldn't be here today. Not to mention, not everyone's body takes to breastfeeding, and if there's a shortage of water, you're not going to be able to drink enough to keep you hydrated, let alone make enough milk to feed the baby. (I wonder how much time would pass before people thought to raid Planned Parenthood?)
  6. VITAMINS and MEDICINE. Your diet is going to suck for years and without a way to get all those missing nutrients that are oh-so important to your body, you're far more likely to weaken and become susceptible to illness.
  7. WINTER WEAR. You know those lovely long johns that flatter your figure so well? Yeah, stock up on those cause you're going to want as many layers as possible. In fact, the more layers you can add and the thicker coats you can find, the fatter you're going to look, and you're less likely to attract the attention of those willing to commit unforgivable sexual assaults (in this instance, see #3 and pop their @sses before they even gets close).
  8. SKIS, SNOWBOARDS, BOOTS, ETC. Did you catch the part where the world will be a frozen wasteland for who knows how long? You really want to lose your legs cause you chose to walk and couldn't get your body out of the sinkhole made of snow?
  9. EARPLUGS. In case of a supervolcano, you'd probably need this cause a volcanic explosion is currently the loudest sound in recorded history and it wasn't even a supervolcano, which would be more than 100 times as loud and would be heard even thousands of miles away...and it'll go on for who knows how long. Do yourself a favor and top off the earplugs with a set of those noise cancelling headphones from Bose (you don't want to start wasting your pain meds here cause you've got a headache).
  10. FOOD. Seriously, if I have to explain this one, there's no hope for you... And by food, I do not mean stockpiling cases of Hershey bars (perhaps Skittles? at least they'll last longer presevative-wise) :D

From the Author's Note: There is a colossal volcano under Yellowstone National Park. The volcano's crater...measures roughly 34 by 45 miles. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, events so powerful they are usually classified as supervolcanoes. The largest of the these eruptions released about 2,500 times as much magma as the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption.

Soooo.....I totally loved this book. Don't get me wrong, it's dismal and depressing and the events following the eruption of the supervolcano are total speculation, but I just got sucked into the possiblity of this post-cataclysmic dystopian society. Alex was all alone when it happened, and like a complete-stupid-effing-teenager he set out into the ash-filled world to journey more than a 100 miles on skis to get to his family. Why do I call Alex a complete-stupid-effing-teenager? When you read Ashfall, count up the number of times someone else had to save him from what would have been yet another tragic death. I completely understand family being important, but in times like this, survival tops the list. Hunker down and survive until you figure out what it is you're dealing with, how to overcome it and then go on your journey.

Darla, I think I love you and I would be just as annoyed with Alex as you were. This is a woman who knows how to survive in post-cataclysmic world. All I can say peeps, is find your Darla and stick to her like glue for the rest of your life!!!

You're going to want to read Ashfall. But just a warning: there are moments in the novel when I think it really pushes the YA label, but they were also actions you would expect to happen when the world is falling to crap around you.

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.