A Teaser of My BRIDGER Novella

Hey readers!

If you've read the Bridger series, you'll know about Memaw, my kick-arse ninja granny. :) This novella is tentatively titled Assassin Rising, and if you guys like this, I might have to release the novella. Let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading,


The blood in my veins went cold. Air hitched in my throat. My stomach felt as though it was filled with lead. Panic sunk in. “This isn’t MaKenna!”
My husband ran into the room. “What to do you mean that isn’t MaKenna?”
“Paul, I know my daughter, and this isn’t MaKenna! Her eyes, look at them!”
The child I held in my arms was withering before our very eyes. I looked up to see the terror-filled eyes of Paul. He looked as though he had seen a ghost. He raised a hand shakily. “A-A-Ank…”
He didn’t have to finish his sentence. The air around us grew cold. The water that was in the cup on the nightstand froze over on top. Ankou was here.
“I have her, Emily. She’s safe. She’s better off now.”
I didn’t look behind me to see him. Instead, I gazed down into the coal black eyes of the Changeling that manifested in my arms. I dropped the filthy thing on the floor, disgusted by what I thought was my child for the past two months. How could I have missed the signs? Was I that blind, or had I just denied the fact that I knew? What kind of mother was I?
Paul’s face contorted in rage. “You bastard! You told us we were safe if we followed you!”
Ankou chuckled. “I said you were safe. Not your child, stupid human. She will be used to strengthen our bloodlines. We’ll be better with her. Thank you for your generous contribution.”
That was it. Ankou may have shown me his power multiple times, but he was also half my size. He’d taken my only child – my reason for breathing – and it was more than I could bear.
I grabbed him by his hair and held him in the air. Before he could disappear or say an incantation, I snatched up the iron chain on the nightstand by MaKenna’s crib. We had always kept iron in the house to defend ourselves against the Fae; how could one have infiltrated and we not notice? In one swift movement I wrapped the chain around Ankou’s neck and ran into the living room.
The only chance I had was to use the incantation I’d watched Ankou use to bring Morgan, or as we called her, The Fates. “Arcessere quas!”
There was no reason to think she’d side with me. We both worked for Ankou. I could only pray she had some sense of a soul within her. Her sister, The Morrigan, certainly didn’t.
Paul was wide-eyed in the doorway. He sobbed, but the betrayal he felt shone through his eyes. “Emily, what have you done?”
“I’m getting our daughter back!”
Ankou cackled as he struggled against his bonds. “You’ll never find her, and I don’t know why you’d want to. You should be honored to have her strengthening the Changeling bloodlines. That’s what you wanted, right?”
Morgan’s silvery grey wisps began to appear, then her jet-black sheet of hair, and finally her body. The grey mist hovered around her feet until she stepped out of it. “Ankou? What is this?”
“I called you here, Morgan,” I said as I clamped a hand over Ankou’s mouth. “He kidnapped MaKenna and won’t tell me where she is. He needs to pay.”
Morgan stood there, silent. Panic was taking over again. I shook Ankou wildly. “Look at him! Look at what he’s done! Do you think he’ll keep any promises he’s given you?”
I threw Ankou to the ground, the iron still in place, which rendered him helpless. He grabbed at the iron, but it singed his hands when he gripped it. He writhed on the ground as smoke rose from around his neck. “You treacherous human! Do you really think I’ll let you get away with this?”
“You won’t have a choice. You’re done here.”
Morgan’s proclamation shocked me. I looked up to see the resignation etched in her face. She was forming a red sphere in her hands. “I don’t like doing this, Emily, but you summoned me. I’m bound to do what you want. I don’t appreciate this.”
She irritated me. I needed my daughter back and she was talking about whether or not she liked the situation.
I’d reached the end of my rope. “Fine. Fine. I’ll do it myself.”
Without another second passing by, I picked Ankou up and threw him in the fireplace. The fire was nearly dead, but when Ankou hit the embers, flames licked up around him. He screamed in agony.
“Now will you tell me where MaKenna is?” I yelled over his shrieks.
He writhed in pain and tried to escape the flames. “You’ll pay for this!!”
“No, because you’ll be dead,” I spat.
Morgan stepped between us and looked back at me. “If you kill him, what really have you accomplished? There are worse things than death.”
She turned and slathered her whole right arm with the red smoke ball she’d created. With her arm covered, she pulled Ankou out of the fire. “Ankou, you will be unable to die, yet unable to heal from these wounds. You will always be mutilated. You will never find the peace of passing over, but you will be in charge of making sure everyone finds peace in their deaths.”
Ankou let out a furious scream, but then the power of Morgan’s proclamation took effect. His body went rigid, and he hovered in the air in a trance. Morgan reached out to grab him, but without warning, he opened his eyes and smiled an evil smile. “You think you can defeat me? I’ve taken precautions against traitors like you! You can’t invoke my own spells on me!”
“Oh yes I can,” Morgan countered. “You gave me more powers than you know. I will make sure you are taken out, one way or another.”
Morgan filled her hands with white light and shoved it into Ankou’s face. With a sudden crash, his body hit the floor and exploded into dust.
“You killed him, Morgan!” I accused. “You killed him when you said you wouldn’t!”
“I didn’t kill him, you fool,” she countered, “Didn’t you listen to what I said? He’s not able to die. For now.”
“What do you mean, for now?”
Morgan shrugged, seemingly not worried at all. “That spell will a few months at best. I don’t know enough to really cause much damage.”
“Are you kidding me?”
She put her hands in the air. “I didn’t want to be part of this. You summoned me. I had to obey, so I did enough to get by.”
“I need my daughter back!”
“Not my problem. You sided with faeries. You, of all people, should know we faeries are not to be trusted.”
Without saying another word, she disappeared into the grey wisps of smoke that signaled her arrival not ten minutes before. I stood there numb, covered in dust, and nowhere nearer to my daughter than I had before it all began.
Before I sided with the wrong people.
I’d forgotten Paul was even here. He reminded me of it in a cold, cruel tone that I’d never heard from him before. “I hate you, Emily.”
My skirt swirled around me as I whipped my body in his direction. “What… what did you say?”
“I hate you. You did this. You caused all of this. We’ve lost our daughter because of you.”
Tears began to fill my eyes. “No, no, no, Paul. You know why I agreed to work for Ankou. I was trying to protect you. Protect MaKenna. Protect us.”
“And a fat lot of good it did, didn’t it?” He spat, “You’ve lost my daughter, Emily! You know spells and people I never dreamed of. You said you didn’t know any spells, but how did that Morgan woman get here without you calling on her? You’ve lied to me from the beginning!”
“Paul, I didn’t mean for it to be this way. You’ve got to understand – “
He held up his hands to stop me. “No, you’ve got to understand me, Emily. I’m done. I’m done with this. The lies, the trickery, the deceit that comes with associating with faeries. I want none of it. You’re on your own.”
I fell to my knees, unable to move. “Paul, no, if you go – if you leave – I’ll have no one.”
He didn’t even turn to look around as he walked away. “Which is what you deserve.”
Silence filled the now empty room.
Tears spilled over. I was alone. I’d caused this. My intentions had been pure: protect my family. But now, because of me, I was alone.
I needed help. I needed to fix this.
Without thinking it through, I stood weakly and stumbled my way to the door.
Desire for revenge and hatred of what I’d become fueled my steps. Ankou talked of another faerie race – one he loathed for their benevolent interest in humans – and I thought I knew where one could be found.
I tripped over tree roots blindly and waved my arms in front of me to feel my way through the pitch black forest. Desperation filled every ounce of my being. I would do anything to save MaKenna. Anything.
Movement. I heard movement ahead. There was a crunch of underbrush, and I ran toward it. “Help, please! Please stop! I need help!”
I tripped over a tree root. Mud filled my mouth. Still, I gurgled out pleas of help while trying to spit out the goo. “Please, I know you’re a Glaistig. I’m willing to do anything. I can help you defeat Ankou. Please, let me help you in your battle.”
The crunching stopped, then began again. It came closer, and for a split second I wondered if I’d made the right decision.
A woman’s sweet voice filled the air. “You can help us stop Ankou, you say?”
“I can,” I sputtered. “I know him personally. Where he’ll be, what he does. You need me.”
The woman laughed. “I don’t know if we need you, but if you can provide that kind of information, it’d certainly be helpful.”
She cracked her knuckles. “I really hope the Committee doesn’t get upset about me creating another member without it going to a vote. They’ll be disgruntled if you have no outstanding abilities. Please don’t be a waste.”
The woman’s face illuminated by the orange light she created in her hands. Her bright red hair fell in waves around her beautiful face. She smiled, and her perfectly aligned, pure white teeth gleamed in the moonlight. “This may hurt a bit when it fills your nostrils, but don’t try to hold your breath. It just prolongs the pain. Good luck.”
The orange light covered me. I didn’t even have time to argue. I opened my mouth to scream, but the orange light was thick and filled my mouth. The words she said rang in my ears.
Don’t try to hold your breath.
I didn’t have anything to live for anyway, so I listened to her advice. The orange substance danced around my nose, so I took in a deep breath.
Everything went black.

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 299
Received: Purchased
Rating: 4 out of 5 Books

Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don't kill him first, that is.

Ms. Armentrout is a phenomenal storyteller! The narrator of the book, Katy, is great, and keeps a fresh feeling sense of being a teenager throughout the book. I really enjoyed the relationships that were built throughout the book, and I loved Dee. She kind of reminded me of Alice from Twilight, but that isn't a bad thing...I think Alice was one of my favorite characters from that series! BUT! Obsidian is NOTHING like Twilight, so don't be scared if you didn't like it, and don't be bummed if you start reading this, looking for a Twilight-esque book. Armentrout is a strong writer and gives so much life to her characters, that you want to root for them all throughout the book. There are plenty of one-liners throughout that make you laugh at the wittiness of her characters, but it isn't over the top. Her world-building is fun and I enjoyed every twist and turn of this ride. You'll more than likely but up late into the night reading this. I know I was!

I didn't like that in a few places Armentrout just expected her readers to accept that things "just were." I marked four different places where Daemon or Dee expressed that the bad guys (the Arum) "didn't need a reason" or that their own abilities were "just because we can." Once even Daemon says, "Matthew explained it to me once. Honestly, I wasn't paying attention." If you have abilities, wouldn't you know how they worked? Why would Katy just accept this cop-out of an explanation? I wasn't necessarily left out of anything that was detrimental, I don't think, but I really feel like Armentrout could have done a little bit better with her explanations on why things in her world were the way they were. She also used the phrase "Sweet Baby Jesus" at least five times, and while it was funny the first two or three, I got tired of reading it over and over. Just my opinion. :)

Armentrout's voice was great and I loved reading from Katy's POV. She was an excellent narrator and held my attention. The sexual tension was great between her and Daemon, and I enjoyed waiting on that big kiss to happen. I think she lightly touched on what will become the crux of book two, and I wish she would have given me more, but I totally get why she ended where she did. She's got me hooked for the second installment for sure!! :) I had to take away a star for what I explained in "the bad" section, but this was a very entertaining read that you won't want to put down! Armentrout is an excellent storyteller and now I'm going to have to go get Half-Blood and see what that series is all about.

"Beautiful face. Beautiful Body. Horrible attitude. It was the holy trinity of hot boys."
* * *
"It was either him or me and my friends. That alien asshat had to go."

RATING: 4 of 5 Books

Wordsmith Wednesday (#3)

The objective:
Show us a scene from your current project. It can be creepy, adventurous, romantic, etc. Just a snippet to let readers see what they're in for!
The guidelines:
* Must be from a current work-in-progress (WIP). Nothing already published.
* You may choose from any section of the manuscript, but be mindful not to include spoilers.
 * Keep it clean and YA audience friendly, please. No erotica.
* Stay under 300 words or about one page. It can be as little as a few lines if you prefer. We just want to give readers a chance to see everyone's selection.
* Link back to Chirenjenzie to enjoy others' work as well!

Here's a snippet from something I just started toying with, which is untitled at the moment. It's my take on Beauty & the Beast. Hope you enjoy it! :)

The bleachers filled quickly with classmates dressed in varying degrees of purple. Two guys had on full body spandex suits, and their buddies that surrounded them were in Halloween costumes.
I thought we were at a basketball game. Apparently this was something of a different breed.
“Does everyone dress like that for games?” I wondered aloud to Lucy, who stood beside me, giving directions to another friend on where we were in the stands.
She waved animatedly. “No, you dork, right here!” She jabbed her hand in the air and swung it around like she was directing an airplane. “Right! HERE!”
I followed her eyes to the other side of the gym, where I saw a girl wave in acknowledgement and put her phone back in her pocket.
That’s when I saw him.
Of course he was here. He was like the opposite of those MasterCard commercials; he was everywhere I didn’t want him to be.
That didn’t mean I minded looking at him, though.
His wild, tawny hair was gelled into points all over his head and made him look like a human hedgehog. The silver ring in his bottom lip glinted when it hit the light just right, and he toyed with it as he focused through the lens of the camera he held in his hands.
“Seriously, don’t waste your time,” Lucy said through an audible sigh as she gave me a jab with her elbow. “Channing is so not worth any amount of effort you’d put into it.”
“That’s his name?” I asked, not looking away from the boy I now knew as Channing.
My phone dinged and vibrated in my pocket. I pulled my gaze away long enough to check the text message.
Earth to Sam, he’s not worth your time.
I looked up to see Lucy grinning from ear to ear. “Really? You text me when we’re standing next to each other?”
“It seemed like the only way to get your attention.”

There you have it, folks! What do you think? If you're a writer, take part in the meme, or add a little of your latest WIP to the comments.
Hope everyone is having a great week!

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Legend by Marie Lu
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 305
Received: Purchased
Rating: 4 out of 5 Books

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Ms. Lu's imagination knows no bounds, but here's the thing: she makes it all BELIEVABLE. Everything she said, I felt myself thinking, "Oh man, what if America ended up like this?" I can see it, and that kinda freaks me out! She builds her world exquisitely, and her characters are always on point. Day is absolutely the most awesome character I've read all year. He is just amazing. The way he grows through the story is awesome, but I think June is the one that grows the most. She is such a BA heroine, and I like that you see her discover the world around her.

Nothing was necessarily bad, but I did feel like June came to the major revelations all at once, in an info-dumpish kind of way. That was just me, though. Some may like it. I would have liked to have seen a redeeming characteristic in Commander Jameson, and I didn't like that Thomas was so cold-blooded, although I suppose that was the goal of Lu. So you see, the "bad" wasn't bad, it was just personal preferences. :)

I really enjoyed Lu's world, and I will definitely be getting the second installment when it releases. This was a fun book to read, and by the end I was totally invested. It was a little slow at the beginning, but the world building was necessary, and I appreciated it when the book really started moving. Like I said, Day is probably my favorite character of the year. I would have loved to watch him pull off more shenanigans, and I hope that the second book will provide that. Lu wrote a great book, and I am looking forward to reading the next one.

RATING: 4 of 5 Books

EXCITING NEWS! (How It Happened + the Query Letter)


I have some exciting news. If you missed it, I've been working on a WIP titled STEEL LILY. I actually posted a short teaser from it in this post, so if you're curious, go check it out! :) Well, I'm excited to say that Steel Lily landed me an agent!!! ::does a happy dance::

I am officially represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA Management! ::throws confetti::

When I tweeted about it, I had a friend ask if I would blog about it. While I hadn't planned on it, it seemed like a good idea, so here we are. :)

When I started querying, I had a friend of mine go over my query with me. She helped me make it shine. When we were finished, I thought we had put together a pretty darn good query...definitely the best one I've submitted with. So, with much trepidation, I hit the "send" button to agents. But this time, unlike the others, I only queried agents I *knew* were people I liked. People I knew would be great to work with, had qualities I wanted, and that were well versed in the literary world.

I thought it'd take a while to get bites, but thankfully, I was wrong. I queried Lauren on April 12th, and got a request for the full the same day. I was beyond thrilled! I also got other requests (8 total, I believe) for fulls as well, so I was pretty excited!

Then came the first email. The agent was VERY excited about my book, but wanted some revisions. I agreed with them, so I set to doing them. All the while, Lauren had my manuscript. We'd tweeted about random things, and she was fun. I wondered if she was liking the book. I got a couple declines, and then it came.

"The Call."

I missed it, because my phone was on silent.


I checked my voicemail and there it was, Lauren Hammond telling me she wanted to talk about representing Steel Lily. I squealed. I scared my 9 month old child with my giddiness.

And I called her back. :)

We talked for quite a while, and it was great to chat and hear her vision for Steel Lily, as well as get to know her style as an agent. I got off the phone wanting to tell her yes, but wanting to give the other agents time to read, as well as sleep on the decision. (ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS give the other agents that have your MS time to read. It's just the nice thing to do. If you physically/emotionally/mentally cannot do that, then at least email them and tell them you're pulling it from consideration. Don't waste their time by having them read something they won't even be able to acquire if they do like it.)

We agreed we'd reconvene in two weeks. I notified all the agents that still had my MS. But...I started to really look into Lauren's other clients. Talked to a few of them. They were all super positive about their experiences, and Lauren's deals on Publisher's Marketplace made me confident in her abilities (ALWAYS check your agents on PM. If they're not recording deals, then will they be able to land one for you??). I talked to my husband, my writer friends, heck, even non-writer friends about it. I really liked what I was seeing, but I thought I should wait.

I made it through the weekend.

After an email came from an agent who declined, I breathed a sigh of relief. I had told my husband I was going to feel bad having to tell them no, because I wanted Lauren. He looked at me, with all his sensibility (God love him), and said, "If you know who you want, then why don't you just accept her offer?"

Made sense to me.

So I emailed the remaining agents and let them know that I was going to accept Lauren's offer. I couldn't wait. I knew who I wanted.

I called Lauren, we chatted, and I said "HECK YEAH I WANNA BE ON TEAM HAMMOND!"

Or something of that derivative. :)

So that's my story. I'm thrilled to have Lauren as an agent, and I can't wait to see what she does with Steel Lily. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to tell you that it has a home, and you'll be able to pick it up in a bookstore near you!

As for any writers that may be reading who are still looking for an agent, don't give up. It only takes one yes. :)


I had a fellow Tweep ask for me to post the query letter that I sent to Lauren. Here it is! :)

Dear Ms. Hammond,

Fifteen-year-old Avery Pike is the most powerful girl in Dome Four, only she doesn't want to be.

Steam is all that's left as a resource after a massive war has left the world in ruins, and Avery's ability to control it is the best hope that her Dome has to survive. But providing steam power for an entire city taxes Avery's body, leaving her exhausted for days afterward.

Enter Atticus Riggs, the enigmatic headmaster of Chromelius Academy who's promised her a new life, far away from the Dome and free from being a government tool. But Atticus's estranged son, Jaxon, has other plans for Avery. He presents her with two choices: trust him with her freedom, or remain under a regime of uncertainty and fear. It seems as though everyone but Avery is in control of her future. But when you can control steam, you can learn to control anything; including the fate of your world.

STEEL LILY is a 95,000 word YA dystopian steampunk fantasy. I've published three novels. My BRIDGER series is a consistent Amazon best-seller in multiple categories, and have sold over 5,000 copies. The first book, Bridger, has sold over 4,000 and Traitor was just released in March. I have a growing social media platform, with nearly 4,000 followers on Twitter, and an active blog and author website. Per your submission guidelines, I have included the first three pages of Steel Lily for your consideration. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Megan Curd
(Insert phone number)

Wordsmith Wednesday (#2)

The objective:
Show us a scene from your current project. It can be creepy, adventurous, romantic, etc. Just a snippet to let readers see what they're in for!

The guidelines:
* Must be from a current work-in-progress (WIP). Nothing already published.
* You may choose from any section of the manuscript, but be mindful not to include spoilers.
 * Keep it clean and YA audience friendly, please. No erotica.
* Stay under 300 words or about one page. It can be as little as a few lines if you prefer. We just want to give readers a chance to see everyone's selection.
* Link back to Chirenjenzie to enjoy others' work as well!

Here's a snippet from my newest WIP, which is still untitled at the moment. It's a MG ghost story. Hope you enjoy it! :)

Movement on the third floor caught his eye. He stopped and looked up, finding Matt now on the third floor, waving once more.
But he wasn’t the only person at the window.
Behind Matt stood an older woman, dressed in a black dress that buttoned all the way to the neck, a delicate brooch at her neck. Her dark hair was pulled back, and her severe eyes were staring holes right into Austin.
A cold chill coursed through Austin, and his mouth hung agape. Matt’s laugh was silenced by the height and panes of glass between them, but he seemed to think that Austin was shocked by his appearance. Matt turned to come back downstairs, and when he did, Austin expected him to run right into the woman.
He didn’t.
Matt walked straight through the woman, whose figure rippled like water, as though a pebble were thrown into the still depths and caused waves. When he’d passed completely through the woman, Matt stopped and turned back to the window once more, confusion clearly displayed on his face. He rubbed his arms as though he were cold, and then disappeared into the room once more, leaving Austin even more confused than before.
Austin closed his eyes and reopened them, assuming he’d imagined the whole thing.
He hadn’t.
When he opened his eyes once more, the woman was standing in the third floor window alone, even more menacing than before. Her teeth were bared, and she looked half-crazy.
Mandy’s voice broke the eerie feeling that still surged through Austin’s veins, and he pulled his eyes from the third floor. “Austin, are you just going to stand on the sidewalk all night?”
He shook his head vehemently, and for a final time, looked to the third floor.
No one was there.

There you have it, folks! What do you think? If you're a writer, take part in the meme, or add a little of your latest WIP to the comments.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Review: Insanity by Lauren Hammond

Insanity by Lauren Hammond
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: S.B. Addison Books
Pages: 190
Received: Provided ARC by author in exchange for a fair review
Rating: 5 out of 5 Books

Sometimes love...can drive you crazy. Adelaide Carmichael and Damien Allen couldn't be more opposite. Adelaide's mother abandoned her when she was ten years old, leaving her to be raised by her abusive and alcoholic father. Damien on the other hand came from a wealthy family, was a local celebrity, and seemed to have a bright future ahead of him. Despite their differences, Adelaide and Damien were young, wild, and fiercely in love. And they had a plan. They were going to run away. Be together forever. And their plan was set in motion, until tragedy struck and for some reason, Adelaide wound up in The Oakhill Institution for the insane. Adelaide has no idea what she did to wind up at Oakhill, but she knows one thing for sure... She wants out. And after Damien follows her there to aid her in escaping, Adelaide slowly begins putting together the pieces of her memory that are missing. And it doesn't take Adelaide long to figure out that sometimes... That one true love never dies.

Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. I don't think there was a moment in this book that I could justify putting it down. Ms. Hammond has a way of sucking you in and refusing to let you come up for air. My husband thought I was crazy because I just *had* to read and find out what was going to happen to Adelaide and Damien. Hammond's main character, Adelaide, is instantly understandable and easy to empathize with. You root for her throughout the book, and personally, I was making guesses as to what the next twist was going to be the entire book! I kept guessing, each idea more harebrained than the one before, because I was desperate to unravel Addy's world. It's that chilling, and that emotional of a roller coaster.

Please remember, this was an ARC, and I have the utmost confidence that my one beef - tense in *very* few spots - has been fixed. It wasn't enough to bother me; it was just a minor blip where I took a second look to make sure I was following the right point of view. Other than that, not one darn thing was there for me to complain about. :)

This book really is a chilling read that you will want to devour in one sitting. I will say that it is definitely an adult book - something I don't usually read. However, this isn't a bad thing. It is more me giving a heads up to any parents who might read my reviews and assume all my books are for YA. :) Hammond has a way with building the characters and making it feel like you're standing right next to them, sharing in their sorrows and triumphs alongside them. You'll want to hug Addy and punch a couple other characters that you'll meet along the way. :) This is a quick read that will leave you stunned at the end, but in an awesomely good way. I highly recommend it!

RATING: 5 of 5 Books

Teaser Tuesday (#9): Above by Leah Bobet

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just click the following link to see the rules. Without further ado, here are my teasers for the week:

  •  "Atticus's eyes have made grown men cower and run for the sewers."
  • "I was upset the first time, and the fifth - afraid she'd run into the bad things in the sewers or tunnels, that she'd make it Above and get caught by the men in white coats; not afraid enough of what scares Atticus, which is the Whitecoats following her back and finding Safe."

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 525
Received: Purchased
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Books

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Oh my goodness! Roth seriously knows how to make you turn pages. She has perfectly woven another tale that makes you race to the finish. The ending...wow. That's all I have to say. As for characters, I loved Tris. She wasn't perfect by any means, but that's what made me able to relate with her. The character arc and growth of Christina was probably the one I enjoyed the most. So many characters grow in this book, but Christina really displayed forgiveness and I think that's something that needs to happen more often. Marcus, well, I'm still not sure I like him, but I'm glad that things worked out the way they did with him. :) Roth's world building is exceptional. You see everything she's creating, and it's such a breath of fresh air because it's not overdone. For her, it just seems like a natural affinity. It's great!

Personally, I didn't like the way that Tobias acted in a good portion of the book, but that could just be me. I thought he acted a bit erratic, but like I said, that's just my personal opinion. It may sound fickle to take a half star for that, but it just really bothered me. Other than that, I loved the book!

You can't go wrong with Roth's Divergent and Insurgent. They're books that are impossible to put down, so I hope you have the time to sit and read! This has been a series that has captivated me the same way that Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Twilight did. That's not to say that Divergent & Insurgent are *like* those books (but if you were going to compare, Hunger Games is definitely a logical choice to read if you haven't!), but just that her writing is as powerful and commands attention. I love it, and I think you will, too!

I clear my throat. "So, this plan. It's kind of stupid, right?"
"It's not...stupid."
"Oh, come on. Trusting Marcus is stupid. Trying to get past the Dauntless at the fence is stupid. Going against the Dauntless and factionless is stupid. All three combined is...a different kind of stupid formerly unheard of by humankind."

* * *

People, I have discovered, are layers and layers of secrets. You believe you know them, that you understand them, but their motives are always hidden from you, buried in their own hearts. You will never know them, but sometimes you decide to trust them.

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Books

Wordsmith Wednesday (#1)

The objective:
Show us a scene from your current project. It can be creepy, adventurous, romantic, etc. Just a snippet to let readers see what they're in for!

The guidelines:
 * Must be from a current work-in-progress (WIP). Nothing already published.
 * You may choose from any section of the manuscript, but be mindful not to include spoilers.
 * Keep it clean and YA audience friendly, please. No erotica.
 * Stay under 300 words or about one page. It can be as little as a few lines if you prefer. We just want to give readers a chance to see everyone's selection.
 * Link back to Chirenjenzie to enjoy others' work as well!

Here's a snippet from my most recently finshed WIP, Steel Lily. Hope you enjoy it! :)

Running water echoed from the bathroom’s shower, and I cracked the door to try to be heard over the waterfall. “Alice? You okay? Sari said she hadn’t seen you today.”
Still no response. Panic began to set in. It wasn’t like Alice to ignore me. We were the only family we’d had for the past ten years. I stepped into the bathroom to find the fluffy carpet soaked with water, the carpet squelching under my feet as I took three steps toward the shower. True fear settled into my heart with each step; the lavender-scented water that had only this morning made me feel cleaner than ever now made me feel dirty.
Small runlets zigzagged their way down the huge mirrors where steam once was, but had now withered away to residual reminders of the once steaming room. It reminded me of teardrops, and ice filled my veins.
I ripped off my shoes and socks as I reached the shower, where the water cascaded down the small ledge that was adorned with river rocks. I slid the door open, afraid of what I’d find.
It was worse than I could have imagined.
Alice sat crunched up in the corner, her arms wrapped around her knees as she rocked back and forth. A fluffy white towel was now plastered to her body, soaked from the shower head pounding down on her small frame. Her body convulsed with alternating sobs and hiccups, and I panicked.
I got into the shower and got on my hands and knees, completely disregarding my uniform that I still wore. Ice-cold water showered my back and the hairs on my neck stood up as I gasped from the shock of the cold water. I grabbed Alice by the shoulders and shook her. “Alice, Alice! Are you okay? Are you hurt? What happened?”
There was no response, she simply cried with a revitalized strength. If she cried tears, I couldn’t tell. The water streamed down her matted hair and what was this morning a beautiful chignon, was now just a rat’s nest of bobby pins and a bow. She looked up at me and I saw that her careful lines of blue eyeliner now streaked and intermingled with mascara that slid down her soft cheeks, giving her a bruised and battered look.
That wasn’t what scared me, though.
Her once beautiful brown eyes were bloodshot to the point of hardly any white remaining. I pushed myself away in bewilderment, my mouth half open. She hiccupped as she tried to smile through the obvious, overwhelming pain she felt. “I’ve been wearing rose-colored glasses since we got here haven’t I, Avery?”

There you have it, folks! What do you think? If you're a writer, take part in the meme, or add a little of your latest WIP to the comments.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Partials by Dan Wells
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 468
Received: Purchased
Rating: 3 out of 5 Books

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.

When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Dan's descriptions are vivid, and his pacing is great. There's not really any slow part to this book, as he keeps plowing forward with a great combination of information, plot, and action. He leaves enough to keep you ready for a second book, but wraps up enough to not make you feel like, "Well, what the heck?" In that instance, I really liked it. He definitely has great world-building skills and you feel for Kira as she reveals each layer behind the secrets she never knew existed. Marcus was great and I absolutely loved Xochi. She was definitely my favorite character of the bunch, and also displayed the most true emotion, in my opinion.

This is Mr. Wells' first foray into YA, and for me, it definitely shows. I felt as though this was an adult novel written with teenage characters. It wasn't bad, it just didn't feel as genuine YA as others I've read. There is a LOT of science behind his plot, so you need to be ready to truly pay attention to different parts of a virus, etc. to really understand what's going on. Also, the core of the story is that the human race is dying out. Every baby that is born, dies within days from a virus. For me, it just hit a little close to home, because I have a young son, so that part made me a little sad to read and imagine the loss I would have felt personally. Although, that can be a good thing, since Wells is illiciting emotion in his readers. Another issue I had was that I really didn't feel attached to many of the characters. At one point, Kira calls two soldiers "Skinny" and "Scruffy," and a lot of the characters felt like that to me - Medic #1, Senator #2, etc. I wanted to feel emotionally attached to characters. Kira says she loves Marcus, but I never really felt like she did, and then Samm...well, I wondered if anything would happen for a second, but then it didn't. Kira doesn't strike me as a girl that will stop for anyone, and I won't give spoilers, but I just felt like Kira didn't have too many hormones, and neither did anyone else. Perhaps it's because these teens had to grow up so quickly, and that would definitely attribute to it. I just didn't feel like this was a YA, and that's okay, but if that was his target audience, I felt like it missed the mark a little.

It's not that this book was bad, so don't get me wrong there. It was a good read, and I enjoyed it. It just...wasn't what I was expecting. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't my favorite book, either. I'll read the sequel, which I'm assuming there will be one, but it won't be one that I run out to get, either. Maybe you'll have different feelings and you'll love it. It just wasn't my favorite I've read.

"I've never been a real traditional guy," said Marcus. "Besides, I'm not saying I know a bright side, I just think this would be a good time to look at one."

Jayden raised his fist, and the group stopped walking.

"Jayden just heard a bright side," whispered Marcus. "There's an uplifting metaphor creeping through those bushes."

RATING: 3 of 5 Books

Teaser Tuesday (#8): A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just click the following link to see the rules. Without further ado, here are my teasers for the week:

  • "Her mother was across the room in seconds, leaning over the bed and speaking close to her face. 'You're in grave danger, Helen.'"
  • "Helen, Helen,' her mother murmured. 'You must remember one thing.' She pulled back, looking into Helen's eyes. 'You know more than you think. Whatever else you discover, remember that.'"

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!


I promise I'm not dead.

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to post real quick that I am NOT dead...I'm simply visiting family and it has taken a lot of time away from my blogging. :(

I'm also in the thick of writing a new project, as well as promoting my now-released sequel to Bridger, which is Traitor! If you haven't checked it out, it's available on Amazon in eBook, and by the end of the month it'll be available in paperback as well.

That's all I have for now, but I promise starting next week, it'll be back to your regularly scheduled posts. I'm sorry for the absence! (When I get copies of Traitor, I'm gonna do a big giveaway! Stay tuned!)


Teaser Tuesday (#7): Mayfair Moon by J.A. Redmerski

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just click the following link to see the rules. Without further ado, here are my teasers for the week:

  • "We both went through the same hell. But I was learning to put it behind me. I was trying to be myself and live my life rather than letting what happened force me to live in fear."
  • "The events that led to all the changes in my life were another side to my story, the darker secret side I knew I'd not forget easily. Or at all."

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 487
Received: Purchased
Rating: 5 out of 5 Books

In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

Oh my goodness. I LOVED Divergent!!

Ohmigosh. Seriously. I cannot begin to explain how impossible it was to put this book down. Wow. Wow. Wow. I'd been on a kick were I enjoyed the books, but I didn't need to tear through the pages. Divergent is different. It makes you turn the pages. You have no choice but to throw yourself into the book and come up for air only when you're finished. Really, it's that good. Roth's ability to command a scene is breathtaking. The action is constant. It really is a breathtaking book. You root for Tris from the beginning and you loathe her enemies. You understand she's not perfect, but that's what makes her an even better character. You can understand her struggle to understand who she is, because I think within all of us is the desire to learn oneself. Roth plays on innate emotions and she does it well. Her descriptions are great and there's no lag in the plot at all. This book isn't short, but I ripped through it. Wow, wow, wow. That's all I have to say.

I NEED MORE...NOW! That's the bad. That's it. :)

Wow. This may very well be my favorite book I've read so far this year. It's just amazing. It reminds me of The Hunger Games in its own respect, but Divergent is in no way a spin off. It is truly unique, but for those who enjoyed The Hunger Games, this is a logical next book to put on your TBR. I can't wait to get my hands on the next installment. Roth is definitely one of my favorite authors now. This book was just that great!

RATING: 5 of 5 Books

Author Interview: Jessie Harrell

Hey everyone! Today I have the honor of having Jessie Harrell, author of Destined, here on Musings of a Write-Aholic! If you haven't read Destined, go get it! It's a great read, and you'll lose track of time when you read it. It's that much fun to turn the pages! :) Without further ado, here's Jessie!

Hi, Jessie, and thanks for taking the time to stop by the blog today!
Thank you for having me. I'm always honored when someone thinks I'm interesting enough to interview.

You're definitely interesting enough to be interviewed! First off, I loved Destined! What made you decide to write about Greek mythology?
Thank you so much! I was a Classical Studies major back in college and focused primarily on ancient Greek and Roman history and culture. I took lots of classes studying the ancient myths and just loved them. But I also knew lots of people found them difficult to get through. My hope in writing about mythology is to take down some of those barriers.

I think you did an excellent job of making the myth of Psyche and Eros relatable and current! How did you choose the story of Eros and Psyche out of all the Greek myths out there? Was there anything in particular that spoke to you about their story?
Eros & Psyche's story was always my favorite myth. Let's face it, there aren't very many romantic myths. And even fewer with happy endings. I guess I'm just a sucker for a good love story.

Really, who isn't? :) Who was your favorite character to write? Was any character tough to write?
I loved writing Hermes. He's funny and would be a guy I'd love to hang out with. Aphrodite was hard for me to write at first. She started out having too much of a soap opera personality and I really needed to find her core - her weaknesses and wants - before I could make her real.

That makes sense. She was a fun character to watch develop! Where's your favorite place to write? Any special habits you have while writing?
My favorite place is anywhere I can eek out an hour or more of writing time. That usually means I'm glued in front of my desk, but when my laptop and I can go mobile, I'm a happy camper. Regardless of venue, I HAVE to listen to music to get my creative juices flowing. Me and silence don't work well together.

That's understandable. I love music, too! What's on the docket for you now? Any new books in the making?
Why, yes, actually. I just released a short story called "Before" that's in the In His Eyes Anthology (free on Smashwords).  I'm co-authoring a novel called Beneath the Surface that will come out this summer. (Tag line: A timeless love. An endless curse. Which one will survive the summer?) And then I'll have another short story out this fall in the anthology benefiting #yalitchat called Two and Twenty Dark Tales. That one draws on ancient Egyptian mythology and is VERY loosely based on the "Hey Diddle, Diddle" nursery rhyme.

Wow, you're busy! I can't wait to get my hands on these other projects! I'm sure they'll be just as awesome as Destined. Speaking of which, Destined is doing spectacularly on Amazon right now! How's it feel to know people are enjoying your writing?
It's amazing. I was pretty scared to make the leap and put Destined out there, but I knew deep down it was ready. The novel has really resonated with people who enjoy a good love story and don't mind the modern-day flare I added to the ancient setting.

I definitely appreciated the modern-day flare. It's always great when an author puts their style in a myth. Personally, I think that's what can make them better! Do you have any secrets to your success? Anything to offer to others in the indie boat?
I wish there was a secret other than "hard work," but that's all I've found for now. I spent years learning about the industry and how to write for YA. I made sure the novel was professionally edited and had a professional cover. And I've just tried to be a friendly and accessible author on every platform.  It never hurts to be nice!

No kidding! Kindness goes a long ways! Finally, what are you reading right now? Found any good books so far this year?
I'm currently reading How to Date an Alien by fellow Indelible author, Megan Vernon. It's so much fun, but I'm just waiting for the hammer to drop. Gulp! I just finished reading Anew by Chelsea Fine and it was awesome. I also enjoyed Addison Moore's Ethereal and My Enchanted Life by Laura Eno. You've got to hand it to the Indie authors (like yourself!) who are putting out some fantastic books at a fraction of the price of traditional publishers. I can't read fast enough to keep up with my ever-growing list!

I just downloaded Ethereal last night! I can't wait to read it. And you're right, Indie authors are great! It's been a blast to meet so many like-minded authors and learn the trade with others. Writing is such a journey, it's fun to have friends along the way, like yourself. Thanks for stopping by today, and best of luck with all your future books as well as Destined!
Thank you for hosting me! I can't wait to see what's in store for you and your novels as well.

Now for the fun part - Jessie's agreed to give away SWAG to some lucky readers! We have 5 autographed bookmarks to give away, and I'm gifting one copy of Destined to another reader! 6 chances to win! Just fill out the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!