A Privilege (The Angel Chronicles, Book 3) by Amy Lignor

A Privilege:

The Angel Chronicles, Book 3

The beloved Angel/Warrior team face pure evil in their final climactic story!

The first time they were sent down, Irish lives were led. Emily, the angel, ended up embedded in murder and lost in the realm of true love. While Matthew, the warrior, took over a life that left blood on his hands and anger in his soul.

With their second coming, Emily found herself facing an oncoming war that brought her to the shores of America. While Matthew tried desperately to unveil the evil character of a young man who was intent on locking his partner in a ‘gilded’ cage.

Now…Emily and Matthew find that their lives are all their own. Yet, all the memories, hatred, longing and regret have come hand-in-hand with this newfound freedom.

In small town U.S.A., Matthew finds himself loving his new life. From his military school existence to a new, ‘odd’ friend who’s arrived in town, Matthew’s looking forward to graduation and heading off into a brilliant future with Emily by his side.

Emily wants nothing more than to hide. Although doing her best to fit in, she lives a life on the edge, wondering when her past love with reappear to either forgive or seek revenge on the angel who let him down. Battling the shadows that seem to be breaking her soul in two, Emily soon discovers that her small, quiet town has a secret that’s beyond dangerous…

As she and Matthew join forces to help a ‘haunted’ victim, they open the door on a mystery neither of them can believe. A true villain has returned from the past, and not even their heavenly family will be able to save them. This time they’re on their own, as they face a fight that could lead them straight to Hell…and end the angel/warrior team forever.

Excerpt

Without a word, Matthew reached out, took Emily by the hand and pulled her down beside him. He looked into her eyes and smiled. “I knew my Emily was still in there.”Out of the blue, the room became incredibly hot, as if Gabriel had entered in order to give a lesson to his favorite students. “What?”

“That spark.” He pulled Emily’s face closer before she could push herself away. “You’ve been acting all this time like you’re just here to sit and wait it out until you’re lucky enough to go Home. But you’re still in there, Emily. You still have all that energy and belief in there and you want to do something. That’s the partner I know.”

Shaking her head, Emily listened to her own breathing intensify as she stared at his full lips and wondered why she felt so completely and utterly strange…vulnerable even. “I want to help this girl. This is a job, maybe my only job down here. She saw a ghost and she wants me to help her out, that’s all.”

“And you will.” Matthew captured Emily’s lips, and she could no longer feel the breath in her lungs. Completely different than the one kiss they’d shared up above so long ago, this one was far more demanding, as if Matthew was a young man determined to kiss his human love for the very first time.

Sitting back, Emily practically jumped off the bed.

“I’m sorry,” she heard him whisper behind her. “I guess I was just excited to see you again.”

Not trusting her voice, she remained silent.

“We have jobs, but we also have a life to live. Our own lives this time around. Maybe you should think about adding that into your angelic plans.” Matthew continued softly, “Jason isn’t here, Emily.”

The name being said out loud sent a chill down Emily’s spine. It reminded her of the vow she’d made a long time ago—a vow that an angel couldn’t break.

She cleared her throat. “It doesn’t matter if he’s here. We were sent to do a job, and maybe helping this little girl prove her story is what I need to begin.”

Standing up, Matthew looked as if he was a man who wanted nothing more than to turn back the clock and erase the name he’d spoken aloud. He walked to the open window. “Well, I hope the job goes well. Good luck with it.”

“Matthew,” Emily took a step toward him. “Don’t leave like this.”

He nodded at the book on the bed. “You have your mission, Emily…your job. Ghosts, goblins, lost souls—knock yourself out.” He took a deep breath. “I wonder when you’re going to figure out that the living souls around you would like some of your attention as well.”

Closing her eyes, Emily shed silent tears as she heard his feet hit the ground beneath her window. A friend, a partner, the one who actually listened, was now just an angry young man racing back to The Armory—a place where warriors reigned.

Emily sighed. She’d done it again. No matter how hard she tried to be good, her mouth always got her into trouble. She needed Matthew to understand. She’d made a promise to a young man a long time ago; a promise that was supposed to last for eternity. How was she to know at the time that their eternity would include death by her hand?
Had the second time around broken their vow? Emily had no idea. But whatever happened she could not and would not offer Matthew her heart if payment was still due for her past sins. Above all, Matthew was the last person who deserved to be punished for her mistakes.

Author Amy Lignor

Amy Lignor began her career at Grey House Publishing in northwest Connecticut where she was the Editor-in-Chief of numerous educational and business directories.

Now she is a published author of several works of fiction. The Billy the Kid historical The Heart of a Legend; the thriller, Mind Made; and the adventure novel, Tallent & Lowery 13.

She is also the owner of The Write Companion, a company that offers help and support to writers through a full range of editorial services from proofreading and copyediting to ghostwriting and research. As the daughter of a research librarian, she is also an active book reviewer.

Currently, she lives with her daughter, mother and a rambunctious German Shepherd named Reuben, in the beautiful state of New Mexico.

Books 1 and 2 are now 99 cents on Kindle!   

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Untimed by Andy Gavin Book Review and Giveaway

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Charlie’s own  mother can’t remember his name. His father is gone for months at a time. Pretty much, he should just be invisible. While on a field trip in Philadelphia, a mysterious clockwork man attempts to kill Charlie. They tumble through a hole that drops them into 18th century London. That’s when things really get interesting. Charlie meets up with Ben Franklin and a girl named Yvaine, who is another time traveler. When they accidentally alter history–allowing Franklin to be killed–Charlie and Yvaine hope to travel through time to fix it. The mysterious clockwork man, however, is determined not to let that happen.

While time travel adventure stories aren’t my normal read, I’m glad I took a chance on Untimed by Andy Gavin. This fast-paced young adult novel is a thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Once I started reading, I never wanted to stop. Gavin knows how to create an engaging novel that draws the reader in with rich details and superb storytelling. He ramps up the tension and places obstacles in the way at every turn. Just when Charlie and Yvaine think they have it all figured out, a new problem arises.  Well-developed, likable characters fill the pages of this creative novel.

The one area I felt disappointed by was the physical nature of Yvaine’s and Charlie’s relationship. Considering that Charlie is in ninth grade and just about to celebrate a birthday at the beginning of the book, that would make him thirteen going on fourteen. While Charlie and Yvaine’s romance is only a small part of the book, I was uncomfortable with some of their actions, especially considering Charlie’s age. When I originally requested this book for review, I thought it might be something that would interest the Lil’ Diva (11). I’m glad I read it first because the sexual nature of the romance in this novel makes it inappropriate for her.

Untimed by Andy Gavin is a gripping story with tons of action. Lovers of science-fiction, time travel stories, and adventure will enjoy this one.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Prices/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $24.00 hardcover
Publisher: Mascherato Publishing
ISBN: 9781937945053 ebook, 9781937945046 paperback, 9781937945039 hardcover
Pages: 325
Release: December 19, 2012

Amazon paperback buy link ($14.99):
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Andy Gavin’s Goodreads:
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Untimed Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16277039-untimed

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Untimed blog tour site:
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Visit the book’s tour page at http://untimed.blogspot.com/ where you can enter for a chance to win these prizes:

$25 Amazon.com gift card or PayPal cash
1 signed paperback of ‘Untimed’ by Andy Gavin
1 signed paperback of ‘The Darkening Dream’ by Andy Gavin
1 signed copy of ‘Crash Bandicoot’ video game
1 signed copy of ‘Jak & Daxter’ video game

I received a free paperback copy of this book from the author through Tribute Books Book Tours. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

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Rennefarre by Malve von Hassell

rennefarreA fairy tale adventure awaits the discerning reader in Rennefarre: Dott’s Wonderful Travels and Adventures translated and adapted by Malve van Hassell. A beloved German children’s classic by Tamara Ramsey, this story was originally written on the eve of World War II. The first edition appeared in 1941. More than 25 editions appeared between 1941 and 2008. With the copyright holder’s permission, von Hassell’s adaptation is based upon the 1965 edition.

Twelve-year-old Dott finds her world turned upside down when she sneaks out to see the bonfire at the edge of her village on the evening of the midsummer night festival and the magical Rennefarre flower falls into her shoe. Now invisible to humans, she can no longer stay with her parents and younger siblings. Eager to find a way out of her predicament, she escapes to the forest. Her quest to return home finds her traveling through the cities and countrysides of 20th century Germany and beyond. Assisted on her journey by the animals she can now talk to and magical gifts along the way, Dott hopes in her heart of hearts that one day she will find a way to release herself from the enchantment of the Renefarre flower and return home.

This is a magical story accompanied by the stunning artwork of Monica Minto. A coming-of-age story that blends fantasy and social commentary, the reader finds herself carried away along with Dott on her fantastic journey to reunite with her family. While young readers will connect with Dott’s desire to return home, and will certainly enjoy the magical and fantasy-filled environment in which this story takes place, I fear its sheer length (298 pages) will deter some readers.

The original story might have been geared toward children, but the social commentary of 20th century Germany would be much more appropriate for tween and young adult readers in today’s modern world. If you read children’s classics from long ago, you’ll discover they handled sensitive topics in a much harsher way than we would now. So, I feel this puts Rennefarre at a disadvantage. How I feel this book would be best read is aloud by a family, which would allow parents to engage their children in conversations over the cultural and ethnic strains as well as the human destruction aspects of the book. It is important to point out, too, that though there are some difficult topics in Rennefarre, Dott’s travels inspire her to consider how she can change her world.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Price/Format: $13.99 paperback
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
ISBN: 9781938690389
Pages: 297
Release: December 11, 2012

MyBookOrders.com buy link ($13.99):
https://secure.mybookorders.com/order/malve-von-hassellMalve Von Hassell

 Malve von Hassell is a freelance writer, researcher, and translator. She holds a Ph. D. in anthropology from the New School for Social Research. Working as an independent scholar, she published several books and journal articles, in particular, The Struggle for Eden: Community Gardens in New York City (Bergin & Garvey 2002) and Homesteading in New York City 1978-1993: The Divided Heart of Loisaida (Bergin & Garvey 1996). She has also edited her grandfather Ulrich von Hassell’s memoirs written in prison in 1944, Der Kreis schließt sich – Aufzeichnungen aus der Haft 1944 (Propylaen Verlag 1994). She has taught at Queens College, Baruch College, Pace University, and Suffolk County Community College, while continuing her work as a translator and writer. She has published a children’s picture book, Letters from the Tooth Fairy (Mill City Press, 2012), and completed a manuscript for a historical fiction book set in the 13th century for young adults, Falconello. She is working on a historical fiction novel set in Jerusalem in the time of the crusades.

Malve von Hassell’s Web
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http://www.malvevonhassell.com/

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Gilded Wings: The Angel Chronicles, Book 2 by Amy Lignor Book Tour and Giveaway

gilded wingsThe Beloved Angel-Warrior Team from Until Next Time Returns!

When Matt and Emily are sent on their second mission they have no idea how truly dark human nature can become…

Emily never wanted to face humans again. With the heartache that went on down below, she’s still trying to figure out how to save souls that don’t deserve saving. The only one she wants to see again is Jason – the young man she fell in love with who became the soulmate she simply can’t forget…

Matt was trained to protect and defend the souls down below. Longing to feel the heartfelt emotions that come from being human, Matt wants nothing more than to have just one life – one chance – to live and love the girl of his dreams…

The powerful team find themselves in a brand new century, living in the Gilded Age of New York City. Emily takes over the body of Anya, a young Russian girl who arrives on Ellis Island after a hideous tragedy. There she meets up with a strangely familiar young man by the name of Drew Parrish, who helps Anya survive in an unknown world of luxury, snobbery and…obsession.

What Anya’s inner angel doesn’t know is that the soul she loves is also back. This time around Jason goes by the name of Max Carrow. Once a quiet and kind boy, he’s now part of the ‘Four Hundred Club,’ and wants nothing more than to be among the most admired as he climbs the shaky ladder of society’s elite.

As two worlds merge, Emily and Matt struggle under the weight of their “Gilded Wings.” Not only will they have to figure out who they should fight to save, but they must also face a romantic choice that could destroy them both.

Read an excerpt

Mitchell Carrow pulled out a chair. “Please sit. We’re all quite looking forward to getting to know you better.”

Anya sat down between the two young children who’d suddenly appeared in the room. She placed napkins in their laps, attempting to catch the egg yolk that was already leaking down the youngest Carrow’s chin. “Sit up,” Anya commanded softly.

Rolling their eyes, the boys squared their shoulders and followed orders.

Mitchell laughed. “See that, son? She’s teaching you better manners already.”

“And what, may I ask, is all the laughter in here?” Hope breezed through the double doors dressed in a beautiful white lace outfit. Her bright white boots were closed with soft pink laces, and a parasol hung over her wrist.

Anya noticed the sudden glow in Mitchell Carrow’s eyes. “Good morning, Hope. Don’t you look lovely today.”

“I look lovely every day, Mitchell. But it certainly is nice to hear it from such a dashing man.”

Anya looked over at Max. Unlike his father, his smile had disappeared at once, as a look of anger sparked in his black eyes. Suddenly he looked like the rude butler’s twin.untilnexttime

So…You Want the Inside ‘Skinny’ on the Warrior? Here Goes…

Hi, I’m Emily. I’m the angel part of this angel/warrior team. And I have to say, when I talk to our creator (no, I mean the writer, not our Creator, creator) I’m always amazed by how many females – and we’re taking teens to grandmothers – want to know about Matthew because they think he’s so great. Well…here are some things you don’t know.

Matthew needs to shower more, especially after we fight in Gabriel’s pit. Even though we’re talking about Heaven, we are still talking about a soul who’s in need of soap and water to make his scent livable again.

team matt

Matthew is also a questioner. Now, I know that you would think I would be, considering the fact that I do it a lot in our stories, but Matthew is the really annoying one. Sometimes he’ll hold his head up, turn his neck back and forth so fast it’s like he’s found something odd to smoke in St. Francis’ field, and he’ll start asking about everything. When he sees a new animal, a new piece of technology, a new wardrobe choice that Mark makes (even though Mark likes the tuxedo the best, he tries on a lot of different outfits), Matthew has to know all about it. He also asks Michael all about the ins and outs of thoughts, magic, reading minds, teleportation – which I still don’t think will ever be invented but, whatever. He even got into this kick recently where he wanted to know about vampires. I’m sure it’s because the library suddenly became full of books about ‘fanged’ creatures, but Matthew wanted the lowdown on whether or not they were real. Turns out, they… Sorry, I forgot, I’m not supposed to give anything away.

Matthew also likes to fight. He’s always throwing himself into the pit to go against Gabe, our teacher. He loves all the swords and shields, and all the ‘ancient’ weapons the best. I think he wants to be King Arthur, or something. But I told him that already happened so he was out of luck.

But…I suppose he learns a lot. His questions and his battles have made him just about the best at this ‘business’ as anyone could possibly be. And the people he’s helped and the jobs he’s done made him the biggest-hearted person I’ve ever met. And, yes…I suppose he’s handsome, if you like that sweet/oddly rugged warrior thing and the bright blue eyes. Well…I’ll give him that one…the eyes are amazing. Anyone can be drawn into those eyes in seconds.

The loyalty and honesty he has are large benefits too, you could say. He is so loyal to his job, his friends, his decisions and…to me. I know people got mad at me in our first life when Jason became my first love, but I really don’t have any idea about soul mates. I mean, we’re taught about them all the time, but I’m still trying to figure out how it would be possible to have two?

team jason

Anyway…yes, Matthew is a hero. And, yes, he’s definitely the guy you want on your side. But you may want to bring duct tape with you or have one of those iPod things so that you can put it in you ear and drown him out after a while.

Oh, and in Gilded Wings, Matthew becomes even more of a warrior than what you…or I, thought he was.

Until Next Time, Everybody,
Amy

thankyou

eBook
ISBN: 9780985792220
ISBN: 9781301335541
Pages: 275
Release: November 1, 2012

Gilded Wings: The Angel Chronicles, Book 2 buy links:

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Until Next Time: The Angel Chronicles, Book 1 buy links:

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amylignorAmy Lignor began her career at Grey House Publishing in northwest Connecticut where she was the Editor-in-Chief of numerous educational and business directories.

Now she is a published author of several works of fiction. The Billy the Kid historical The Heart of a Legend; the thriller, Mind Made; and the adventure novel, Tallent & Lowery 13.

She is also the owner of The Write Companion, a company that offers help and support to writers through a full range of editorial services from proofreading and copyediting to ghostwriting and research. As the daughter of a research librarian, she is also an active book reviewer.

Currently, she lives with her daughter, mother and a rambunctious German Shepherd named Reuben, in the beautiful state of New Mexico.

Gilded Wings Twitter hashtag:

#GildedWings

Gilded Wings Goodreads page:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15725493-the-angel-chronicles-book-2

Until Next Time Goodreads page:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13319888-until-next-time

The Angel Chronicles web site:

http://www.the-angel-chronicles.com

The Angel Chronicles Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Angel-Chronicles/168932393209654

Amy Lignor’s Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/alignor

Amy Lignor’s Twitter:

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Amy Lignor’s Website:

http://www.thewritecompanion.com/

Amy Lignor’s Blog:

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Amy Lignor’s GoodReads:

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Tribute Books website:

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Visit http://the-angel-chronicles.blogspot.com/2012/10/gilded-wings-blog-tour-schedule.html for your chance to enter and win great prizes:

  • 50 gifted Apple iBookstore versions of the “Until Next Time: The Angel Chronicles, Book 1” ebook
  • $10 Amazon.com gift card
  • t-shirt featuring Matt on the “Gilded Wings” cover
  • t-shirt featuring Emily on the “Until Next Time” cover
  • poster (12″ x 18″) featuring Matt on the “Gilded Wings” cover
  • poster (12″ x 18″) featuring Emily on the “Until Next Time” cover

Read along at these other blogs!

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Back to Bataan by Jerome Charyn

It’s 1943. World War II is raging in Europe and the Pacific. But In New York City, eleven-year-old Jack Dalton is fighting a war of his own. Having lost his father in Bataan and wanting to protect his mother from the Germans and the Japanese, Jack desires to join the Army. His mother thinks one solider in the family is enough. Even his classmates don’t understand. Attending Dutch Masters Day School on a scholarship, they laugh at his idea of going back to Bataan with General MacArthur. When a classmate steals his girl, Jack is bent on revenge, putting him on a course to meet up with an articulate and charismatic ex-convict who turns his world upside down.

A huge fan of Jerome Charyn’s work, I was thrilled to learn this book was being re-released as an eBook and going on tour. Back to Bataan is an eloquently told story that provides a glimpse into one boy’s life in New York City during World War II. Filled with many engaging characters, this short book (101 pages) tugs at the heartstrings. It is clear that Jack is searching for a good male role model to replace the father he lost. His mother doesn’t understand him. His peers don’t understand him. And he is bullied by the rich students he attends school with. All this drama propels Jack to take certain actions that end up having severe consequences.

I’m a bit on the fence about this book. While the work of a master is evident in Charyn’s telling of Jack’s story, it doesn’t seem to be the right fit for the current YA market. The themes of the horrors of war, a boy’s search for a male role model, and being bullied are definitely topics today’s young people can relate to, but I don’t see Jack’s desire to join the Army and go back to Bataan with MacArthur as being easily understood or accepted by this age group. I’m not certain this story will fully strike a chord with them.

One of the things I think is interesting to note is that the characters on the new cover seem to be in their late teens, but Jack is only eleven in the story. It appears the idea was to attract an older audience, but I’m not certain that will happen because the main characters are so young; and some of the themes running through Back to Bataan are probably too obscure for younger readers. As a lover of historical fiction,I enjoyed the story. I’m just not sure how much of a hit it will be with its target market.

That said, you won’t find a more masterful storyteller than Jerome Charyn. His work is amazing. It digs deep into the heart and delivers meaningful stories that examine life with all its joys and sorrows.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • File Size:186 KB
  • Print Length:101 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage:Unlimited
  • Publisher:Tribute Books (June 21, 2012)
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

eBook
ISBN: 9780985792206
ISBN: 9781476119076
Pages: 98
Release: July 1, 2012
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Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since 1964, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

Back to Bataan web site:

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I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions. I have not been compensated in any way for this review.

The Color of Snow by Brenda Stanley

An intriguing, heart wrenching story awaits you in The Color of Snow by Brenda Stanley.

Sixteen-year-old Sophie leads a sequestered life in the hills of Arbon Valley, Idaho. Brought up by her biological father to believe she is cursed, Sophie hides her secret friendship with Damien. When Papa learns of their friendship he tries to shoot Damien. Once her father is arrested, Sophie discovers she is Callidora–a baby girl who was kidnapped from her crib and canonized in missing posters. The entire community is shocked.

Unprepared for the world around her and forced to live with family members she has never met, Sophie must decide what she believes. Is she cursed? Did Papa hide her away to protect her? Can she trust her family? Will her love for Damien destroy him like her father claims or will it free her from the her haunting past?

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel, but the official synopsis fascinated me. Who would willingly lock their daughter away from the world and why? What is this curse and where did it come from? Is Papa good or evil?

All these questions and more were answered in this moving, beautifully told story. Told from two point of views, The Color of Snow captures the reader quickly and doesn’t let go until the last word. The present day story is told by Sophie, as she tries to come to terms with being separated from her father, wades through her confusion over what–if anything–she should believe about her new family, wonders what to do about her relationship with Damien, and copes with the difficulty of being a legend in her own community. The story of a romance from the past is told from Papa’s POV.

In addition to her well-drawn characters, Stanley manages to portray what I would say is an accurate picture of how Sophie’s peers react to her. Some are kind, some are cruel, and after years of isolation Sophie is ill-prepared to deal with the way they treat her. She’s also not sure what to make of her step-cousin, Stephanie. Not only does this girl have secrets of her own, she’s much wiser about how the world works. They form a great bond, but Sophie isn’t quite sure if she should act the way Stephanie suggests. I loved the friendship between these two young women.

The Color of Snow is a superb story. It captured me lock, stock, and barrel. I stayed up late reading it. I pushed the chores aside to read it. I wasn’t satisfied until I read the last word, and then I wanted to read it over again. If you like mysterious stories with engaging characters, you’ll want to read this one.

Highly recommended.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

eBook
ISBN: 9780983741893
ISBN: 9781476172309
Pages: 413
Release: June 1, 2012
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Brenda Stanley is the former news anchor at her NBC affiliate KPVI in Eastern Iadho. Her writing has been recognized by the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Hearst Journalism Awards, the Idaho Press Club and the Society for Professional Journalists. She is a graduate of Dixie College in St. George, Utah, and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Brenda lived for two years in Ballard, Utah, within the Fort Duchesne reservation where the novel is set. She and her husband live on a small ranch near the Snake River with their horses and dogs.

The Color of Snow web site:

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I received a free e-copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Guest Blogger: Jolene Perry, Author of Knee Deep

Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He’s her soul mate. He’s more uptight every day, but it’s not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she’s adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he’ll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long.

Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He’s the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she’s playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.

Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both.

Suddenly Personal by Jolene Perry

Sometimes a story is more personal than you expect it to be.

I read an article in an online newspaper that talked about the YA books coming out that year which dealt with abusive relationships.

I’d part mapped one out a while back, and thought maybe I’d work on it – all evidence that the market had just gotten an influx of them didn’t sway me the way it should have…

The more I wrote in the story, the more personal it became.

I was not ever hit by my boyfriend in high school. He never screamed and yelled at me – though I heard him trashing his room a few times when I left after an argument, and he didn’t hesitate to show me when he was pissed about something.

He’d pick fights with me over the phone and hang up, knowing it meant I’d sneak out to “straighten things out.”

There was one really horrible night with him that I’d blocked from my mind for a long time, that I remembered when I was writing, so I used it.

I see these cases my husband talks about with women who are beaten and bruised and making up excuses and going back over and over. One ended in murder a couple of weeks ago. A case my husband will be prosecuting when it goes to trial.

The abuse story I told is nowhere near that dramatic, but so much of Ronnie’s story was mine. WAY more than I realized while I was writing it. When I got to the end, and started writing down the parts of her story that were real (I always do this for my author site), I realized more and more how much of me was in that girl.

I stared at my computer screen in shock.

I had one of my best friends, who was a guy, who I shared more with than I probably did to most of my girlfriends – (like Luke from Knee Deep) and a boyfriend I’d known since I was a kid (like Shawn from Knee Deep). And I felt this draw to my boyfriend, only because I’d known him for so long, not because we really had anything left in common.

I felt more like I was stuck in this relationship, and didn’t even realize I didn’t want to be there until I visited a friend in college and saw how much more LIFE was out there. It was just that the idea of this one person had been in my head for way too long.

And where did I end up? Married to the best friend.

People talk about writing what you know, and then talk about keeping yourself out of your books. But you know what? I KNEW that situation – and I know I’ll get some bad reviews (like you always do – ESPECIALLY when you tackle a tough topic) that are going to say that Ronnie’s actions weren’t believable.

But here’s the thing – I told her story, the best way I knew how. Ronnie’s reactions with pieces of my truth. And there are some drastic differences, but there are also some startling similarities. So, to me, Ronnie’s actions were completely and totally understandable.

And that’s the story of how Knee Deep came to be.

Read an Excerpt!

My front door opens. “Hello?” Shawn calls.

“In here!” I say back. Suddenly this feels weird. Why would this feel weird? This is just what happens when one of us is stuck at home. Why would today be any different? But my heart’s beating against the inside of my ribs, trying to tell me this is different.

Luke scoots away from the couch. Does he feel it too? That maybe him and me hanging out alone for the day might not have been the best idea?

Shawn steps through the hallway and scowls when his eyes meet mine and then pass to Luke. This shouldn’t be a big deal. Except…I’m so stupid. I was just thinking how I needed to make Shawn’s life outside of his house less stressful, and part of me  knew it was weird that Luke was here without Shawn. I thought it, and did nothing. But again, it is just Luke.

“What’re you doing here?” Shawn asks. His dark eyes fix on Luke.

“I figured you’d be here, man.” Luke stands up. “It’s like we always ditch together, right?”

Romeo and Juliet kissing in the pool on the TV screen probably isn’t helping anything. Maybe Shawn won’t notice, or maybe it’s just sending my heart into crazy flutters because this tension between Shawn and Luke and, I guess, me, is happening during the most romantic scene of the movie.

“Uh, I don’t know.” Shawn’s still scowling, his brows pulled low and his jaw tight.

“You would’ve hated it,” I say. My eyes catch his, but his are as black as his mood seems to be. I’m so stupid. Why did I have to let Luke stay?

“Yeah, maybe.” Shawn’s narrowed eyes go from Luke to me, back and forth, as if judging the situation. Really? What did he think could possibly happen between Luke and I? Even if this is suddenly on my top three ‘most awkward moments’ ever. I can’t even think about what the other two might be. Maybe I’ve just found number one.

“Romeo and Juliet all day.” Luke laughs, but I know him well enough to see he’s trying really hard to be relaxed. His shoulders are too stiff, and his normal stance is too rigid. I wonder if Shawn sees it too. “Guess I’ll leave you two alone.” Luke’s trying hard to keep his voice light.

“Yeah.” Shawn has yet to return Luke’s smile. “I almost never see my girl anymore.”

It’s like I’m on the edge of my seat, tension pinpricking every part of me. I’ve never seen Shawn like this.

“Well, I should get my ass to rehearsal anyway.” Luke gives Shawn a friendly pat on the shoulder before heading outside.

I don’t watch him go. My eyes are on Shawn, trying to figure out what to expect next.

“What the hell was that?” His sharp gaze is now pointed directly at me.

I stand up and lean to the side, trying to be relaxed. “It didn’t seem like a big deal this morning.” Maybe if I play it off as nothing Shawn won’t be so mad. He knows Luke and I are friends. No big deal, I tell myself again. But I don’t know if I’m trying to convince myself or Shawn.

“Was he here when we were texting?” he asks. His voice may be low, but not in a good way. It’s low in a way that makes him sound like he’s past the edge of reasonable anger.

My body’s screaming for me to take a step back, which makes no sense. This is Shawn. My Shawn. “No.” But I’m weakening by the second, almost shaking inside. His jaw tightens again.

My eyes close as I remember, and dread fills my chest. “He got here as I sent my last one.” Is that bad? Good?

“And you didn’t think to tell me? What the hell is that?”

I jump at the sharpness of his voice. Shawn doesn’t need this stress. I know this. I reach forward to put my arms around him. We just need to hold one another for a minute, then it’ll all be fine.

He stops me, grabbing my arm—hard—just above my wrist.

“This is not okay.” His jaw is set.

“Hey.” My voice shakes. My body shakes. I’m actually scared of Shawn for the first time ever. I jerk my hand once, but he tightens his grip…impossibly tight. My lungs can’t pull in a breath; there’s just not enough air in the room anymore. “Shawn, you’re hurting me.” He can’t mean to hurt me. He can’t.

His face is stuck in a sharp scowl.

“He’s your friend.” My voice is crying. I want to try and pull my shaky arm out of his grasp again, but I’m afraid to; he’s squeezing so hard. Tears are hot against the back of my eyes, threatening to spill over.

“How would you feel if I spent all day with some chick?” The words come out as angry spit from between his teeth.

I open my mouth to answer but can’t, the lump in my throat has taken over. All I can think about is that I need to find something to say so he’ll let me go. Some way to get the air through my throat to form words. “It’s just Luke,” I plead, sucking in a breath.

“Whatever.” He throws my arm back at me, turns, and walks out the door, slamming it hard behind him. My body jumps at the sound.

I stumble backward onto the couch. I’m like a leaf battered about in the wind. Nothing’s working right. I need to sit. Normally I’d run after him, but I have no idea what to expect. And I’m afraid. Of Shawn.

He’s never been that way before. Ever. He’s moody and particular, but this seems…extreme. I’m cradling my wrist with my other hand, afraid to look at any possible damage. It hurts to move it. What just happened here? How did it happen?

It’s like there suddenly must be something fundamentally wrong with the universe. But the TV’s still on. My house looks normal and quiet. I’m still breathing, but Shawn, my Shawn, just hurt me. Lying down seems so anti-climactic, but I can’t bring myself to do anything else.

When Juliet realizes Romeo’s dying the sobs take over, and I pull my knees to my chest as if making myself smaller will somehow dull the pain.

It doesn’t.

Jolene grew up in Wasilla, Alaska. She graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in political science and French, which she used to teach math to middle schoolers.

After living in Washington, Utah and Las Vegas, she now resides in Alaska with her husband, and two children. Aside from writing, Jolene sews, plays the guitar, sings when forced, and spends as much time outside as possible.

She is also the author of Night Sky and The Next Door Boys.

 

Knee Deep web site:
http://knee-deep-book.blogspot.com/
 
Knee Deep
Twitter hashtag:
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eBook
ISBN: 9780983741886
ISBN: 9781476060316
Pages: 240 Release: May 1, 2012
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