Book Blurb: Torn between two worlds, which will she embrace?
Elodie Harper is heir to the magical kingdom of Aluna. Trapped by an evil wizard in an illusion; Elodie grows up caught between two worlds, one of magic, and one of technology.
As the facade of her mundane life of lies and fake smiles cracks, her kingdom crumbles in the absence of its ruler. Join Elodie as she navigates both lives not knowing which to embrace, and which to push into the back of her mind and forget as a bad dream.
Author bio: Heather Michelle is an emerging author of young adult fantasy. She lives in Acworth, GA with her cat Mister Bingley and a slew of unique roommates.
Growing up, Heather Michelle spent more time living in her imagination than outside of it. Small town life sandwiched between the redwood forests and the Pacific ocean provided a rich scope for the imagination. Before the age of twelve, Heather Michelle was not a reader, but a chance encounter with a rented audiobook launched her into the vast world of the printed word, and she never looked back.
Disclaimer: I received this ebook from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book: Fall of the Cities: Uprooting the Orchard
Author: Vance Huxley
Book Series: Fall of the Cities Book 4
Recommended For…: dystopian lovers
Publication Date: October 25, 2020
Recommended Age: 17+ (language, gore, violence)
Publisher: Entrada Publishing
Synopsis: Orchard Close survived Caddi’s invasion, and smashed the General’s army, but was the price too high? The Riot Squad are dead or wounded, the Army is watching from the bypass, and the attacking gangs were beaten but not annihilated. This time they don’t even have a leader, because Soldier Boy will be out of action for months.
At least the attackers left behind plenty of weapons, providing the Army don’t take them, and one person is ruthless enough to use them all. Without telling even ‘Arold, the Killer Queen uses illegal weaponry to recruit, then launches a true Blitzkrieg across the battered city. With their enemies occupied, the Orchard Close survivors try to come to terms with the deaths, the destruction, and a growing conviction they can never win, that the government and scroats will keep coming.
The Cabal is distracted because the Reivers spring their own May Day surprise party. The Bruce is aiming high this time, he wants to buy Scotland from the Cabal and the first payment is in blood. As brave men and women launch their attacks or make their last stands, the foreign mercenaries and Specials find that their own families are vulnerable, and even the Royal Navy gets a wake-up call. While they are occupied, Bruce strikes for the real prize, a way to bring the Cabal to the negotiating table.
Throughout the summer, as Harold heals, he begins to plan the evacuation of Orchard Close. The gangs are finished, but when the Army withdraws from the bypass their replacements, Mart guards, will have machine guns aiming right into the heart of Orchard Close. Even as he tries to keep his plans secret, a rumour begins to grow, about an operation called Silent Running. It spreads and grows, helped by a song, until even the surrounding gangs believe it; Soldier Boy is leaving to set up a secret base. When the government finally comes for the Cities, there’ll be a haven for those who escape and a strike force poised to disrupt the assault. By the time the convoy is ready, even the Cabal knows about the breakout, but with all the rumours Harold hopes that even his resident government spy is confused.
Review: I really like this book. I really like to genre and I thought that way that the author wrote this book was very well done. I also felt like the author did very well regarding character development and world building. The plot of the bus also hooks you in very early it doesn’t let you go until the very end.
The only issue I really had with the book was that the pacing of the book can be pretty slow compared to what I am normally used to. It’s also a hard book to get into as the book is in the middle of a series and it’s hard to figure out where in the series this book falls as it’s not easily listed on Goodreads.
Recommended Age: 17+ (romance, slight sexual content, slight language)
Publisher: Gatekeeper Press
Synopsis: A spark is lit on Bonfire Night in Northern England in 1965, but for John and Jean-Louise the fireworks continue to explode for decades to come. An awkward Yorkshire farm boy with few prospects and a sophisticated town girl from Manchester, John and Jean-Louise blossom, grow – both together and apart – and find ways to compromise in this coming-of-age story that goes beyond the wedding where the curtain often drops.
Review: For the most part I really liked this book. The book had an interesting plot and the book was written very well. The book was emotional and I liked working through this book. The book also had some well written world development.
However, I did think that the book didn’t have good character development. The dialogue didn’t feel authentic and the characters just lacked that oomph that set them apart from each other. The book also had slow pacing in some of the book.
Verdict: It was good, just no rememberable characters.
Disclaimer: I received this audiobook from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book: Be Dazzled
Author: Ryan La Sala
Book Series: Standalone
Diversity: Gay MC, m/m relationship
Recommended For…: contemporary readers, ya readers, LGBT+
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Genre: YA Contemporary
Recommended Age: 16+ (language, drug usage, alcohol mention, sexual content, and slight gore for cosplay)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Synopsis: Who’s ready to sparkle??
Project Runway goes to Comic Con in an epic queer love story about creativity, passion, and finding the courage to be your most authentic self.
Raffy has a passion for bedazzling. Not just bedazzling, but sewing, stitching, draping, pattern making–for creation. He’s always chosen his art over everything–and everyone–else and is determined to make his mark at this year’s biggest cosplay competition. If he can wow there, it could lead to sponsorship, then art school, and finally earning real respect for his work. There’s only one small problem… Raffy’s ex-boyfriend, Luca, is his main competition.
Raffy tried to make it work with Luca. They almost made the perfect team last year after serendipitously meeting in the rhinestone aisle at the local craft store–or at least Raffy thought they did. But Luca’s insecurities and Raffy’s insistence on crafting perfection caused their relationship to crash and burn. Now, Raffy is after the perfect comeback, one that Luca can’t ruin.
But when Raffy is forced to partner with Luca on his most ambitious build yet, he’ll have to juggle unresolved feelings for the boy who broke his heart, and his own intense self-doubt, to get everything he’s ever wanted: choosing his art, his way.
Review: I really like this book. I thought that the concept would be a bit tropey, but I am so glad that I was wrong. The two main characters were not at all enemies to lovers or vengeful x or anything like that, they felt like real people in the book. They had their tips and everything but the whole book didn’t dwell on those little tips, but rather their relationship as a whole. I thought that the characters were wonderfully well developed and the world building was amazing. I really liked the concept of the book and that it takes place during conventions and with cosplay, something that I don’t see a lot in books. I also thought that the book was wonderfully well written and the audiobook narrator did a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life.
the only thing that I really had an issue with was the way that the story was told. I really did like how the story was told for the most part, and that the book is told in this back and forth between the now and the then. But the story got a little bit metal towards the end, and I wish that the author took the last two chapters of the then and combine them into one big chapter and then left the last two chapters of the now complete. But the book is very poetic in that sense because while you’re seeing the relationship fall apart in the then you are seeing it come back together in the now and there’s something that’s just epically poetic about this and I am so happy that I got to listen to this book. I highly recommend this book if you’re interested in cosplay or if you’re looking for those one of the million best ya romance contemporary books.
For this month I wanted to celebrate some Irish authors and some books set in Ireland. I’m part Irish and my husband is, what we think, mostly Irish. I also wanted to show appreciation to them. They’ve historically dealt with a lot of prejudice and when they came to America, they had a hard time getting jobs and houses because people did not want to do business with them. If you have a chance to go to Ireland, I also highly suggest that. Their land and culture is full of rich history and the beauty of the country has yet to be outmatched in my book.
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.
When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.
Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.
The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.
But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.
Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.
The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson
Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.
In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.
Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessey
Here’s what Lauren knows: she’s not like other girls. She also knows it’s problematic to say that – what’s wrong with girls? She’s even fancied some in the past. But if you were stuck in St Agnes’s, her posh all-girls school, you’d feel like that too. Here everyone’s expected to be Perfect Young Ladies, it’s even a song in the painfully awful musical they’re putting on this year. And obviously said musical is directed by Lauren’s arch nemesis.
Under it all though, Lauren’s heart is bruised. Her boyfriend thinks she’s crazy and her best friend’s going through something Lauren can’t understand… so when Lauren realises she’s facing every teenage girl’s worst nightmare, she has nowhere to turn. Maybe she should just give in to everything. Be like other girls. That’s all so much easier … right?
Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.
For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.
Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.
But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. .. And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.
Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. . .
Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?
Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.
The Call by Peadar O’Guilin
Imagine a world where you might disappear any minute, only to find yourself alone in a grey sickly land, with more horrors in it than you would ever wish to know about. And then you hear a horn and you know that whoever lives in this hell has got your scent and the hunt has already begun.
Could you survive the Call?
Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan
Everyone in Ballyfran has a secret, and that is what binds them together…
Fifteen-year-old twins Madeline and Catlin move to a new life in Ballyfran, a strange isolated town, a place where, for the last sixty years, teenage girls have gone missing in the surrounding mountains.
As distance grows between the twins – as Catlin falls in love, and Madeline begins to understand her own nascent witchcraft – Madeline discovers that Ballyfrann is a place full of predators. Not only foxes, owls and crows, but also supernatural beings who for many generations have congregated here to escape persecution. When Catlin falls into the gravest danger of all, Madeline must ask herself who she really is, and who she wants to be – or rather, who she might have to become to save her sister.
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle
One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.
Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets.
When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .
Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy
Unlike the rest of the world, Iris doesn’t care about the famous high-fantasy Elementia books written by M. E. Thorne. So it’s just a little annoying that M. E. Thorne is her grandmother—and that Iris has to deal with the trilogy’s crazy fans.
When Iris gets dropped in Ireland for the movie adaptation, she sees her opportunity: if she can shut down production, the Elementia craze won’t grow any bigger, and she can finally have a normal life. Not even the rascally-cute actor Eamon O’Brien can get in her way.
But the crew’s passion is contagious, and as Iris begins to find herself in the very world she has avoided her whole life, she realizes that this movie might just be amazing…
The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan
Armed with a suitcase and an old laundry bag filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother head for England. Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother’s heart is breaking and at school friends are scarce. But when someone special swims into her life, Kasienka learns that there might be more than one way for her to stay afloat.”The Weight of Water” is a startlingly original piece of fiction; most simply a brilliant coming of age story, it also tackles the alienation experienced by many young immigrants. Moving, unsentimental and utterly page-turning, we meet and share the experiences of a remarkable girl who shows us how quiet courage prevails.
The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley
It’s 1993, and Generation X pulses to the beat of Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement. Sixteen-year-old Maggie Lynch is uprooted from big-city Chicago to a windswept town on the Irish Sea. Surviving on care packages of Spin magazine and Twizzlers from her rocker uncle Kevin, she wonders if she’ll ever find her place in this new world. When first love and sudden death simultaneously strike, a naive but determined Maggie embarks on a forbidden pilgrimage that will take her to a seedy part of Dublin and on to a life- altering night in Rome to fulfill a dying wish. Through it all, Maggie discovers an untapped inner strength to do the most difficult but rewarding thing of all, live.
Hope Against Hope by Sheena Wilkinson
It is 1921. Ireland has been at war with Britain for two years.
Communities are torn apart by bitter hatred – and now a hard border.
Helen’s Hope in Belfast is a hostel for girls, a feminist and non-sectarian space. Stella refuses to use the work of her girls to make political symbols, but her resistance leads eventually to a violent attack on the hostel.
Disclaimer: My husband has a copy of this book so I borrowed it from him.
Book: The Golden Compass
Author: Phillip Pullman
Book Series: His Dark Materials Book 1
Recommended For…: Children’s book readers
Publication Date: May 22, 2001
Recommended Age: can’t recommend, DNFed
Synopsis: Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.
Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want–but what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other.
Review: I had to dnf this book at page 93. This book has a horrible writing style. I was confused throughout the book and nothing is very well explained. The words in this book are fantastic, but are not explained as well. I understand that this is a well beloved book and series for a lot of people, but I feel like reading the SparkNotes of this book would be better suited for me. I also feel like there should have been a book before this book to explain what the hell is going on in this book. I also want to say that Lyra is a terrible person and friend and I don’t know why she is our main protagonist.
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc for a tour. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book: I Think I Love You
Author: Auriane Desombre
Book Series: Standalone
Diversity: Lesbian and Bisexual Main Characters!
Recommended For…: romance fans, contemporary lovers, ya readers
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Genre: YA Contemporary
Recommended Age: 14+ (romance, slight language, sexual content)
Synopsis: Emma is a die-hard romantic. She loves a meet-cute Netflix movie, her pet, Lady Catulet, and dreaming up the Gay Rom Com of her heart for the film festival competition she and her friends are entering. If only they’d listen to her ideas. . .
Sophia is pragmatic. She’s big into boycotts, namely 1) relationships, 2) teen boys and their BO (reason #2347683 she’s a lesbian), and 3) Emma’s nauseating ideas. Forget starry-eyed romance, Sophia knows what will win: an artistic film with a message.
Cue the drama. The movie is doomed before they even start shooting . . . until a real-life plot twist unfolds behind the camera when Emma and Sophia start seeing each other through a different lens. Suddenly their rivalry is starting to feel like an actual rom-com.
Review: For the most part I enjoyed the book. I felt like the characters were pretty well developed and the plot was interesting. The book was really cute and sweet and it’s just one of those books that you read when you want a strong contemporary romance book.
However, I felt like there was a lot going on in the book. There was a lot going on and I just got very bogged down with all the stories and romances and side quests and stuff like that. I also felt like the world building wasn’t as great and that I think the book could have been a little bit more streamlined.
Verdict: It was cute, but I got a little lost in the crowd.
Author Bio: P.N. Shafa is a Seattle native currently residing in Melbourne, Australia. She likes thinking and writing about the growth and demise of societal systems and the snowball effect of individual intention. Short Blurb:In the near future the ultra elite flee a climate ravaged Earth to the safe haven of a Martian colony, leaving the remainder of the population in apocalyptic chaos. The two societies evolve over the next 100 years, one running from its mistakes, while the other must meet them head on.Long Blurb:
When the 1% flees a climate-ravaged Earth for a luxury Martian colony, will the survivors left behind build a new utopia or collapse into chaos?
Earth has devolved into corporate feudalism. The mega corporation NewOrigin promises a quick escape from an Earth made uninhabitable by global warming, and a fresh start on their new Martian colony.
But when a whistleblower reveals that the colony has the capacity to hold only a tiny fraction of the Earth’s population, the ultra elite stampede for a standing spot near the bathroom on the last shuttle to Mars.
There is Liam and his daughter Jemima, distant relatives of the CEO of NewOrigin, who battle against Earth’s remaining billionaires in a race to the Skylift shuttle minutes before its last launch.
Then there is Finbar, an establishment loyalist working at one of the largest social media networks on Earth. If she just keeps her head down and ignores the rioters outside, her contract promises her a golden ticket to Mars.
But does the new colony really offer salvation? NewOrigin’s rule becomes increasingly authoritarian in the struggle to control an overflowing population. Florentine, the once tech-billionaire, finds himself a member of the overstuffed colony’s burgeoning underclass.
In a world of only the powerful, who will dominate, who will revolt, and who will be left when the dust clears?
Earth and Mars evolve in parallel over the next one hundred years. One society runs from its mistakes, while the other must meet them head on.
When Tsunami, the great granddaughter of the once mighty NewOrigin CEO, flees Mars to beg political asylum on Earth, old resentments must be confronted in a planetary-wide, precedent-setting immigration hearing. Descendants of Power is darkly comedic science fiction at its best, merging rising fears of climate apocalypse with dreams of Martian colonization as it strives to answer the question: can we outrun our own human nature?
Synopsis: Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed sequel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.
Esme Pearl’s life used to be all about bumming rides and babysitting. Sure, it wasn’t glamorous, but it was predictable. All that changed when Cassandra Heaven came to town, and they discovered their complicated, and connected, legacy: Esme and Cassandra are Sitters, supernaturally-gifted teens armed with an ever-changing grimoire of Sitter witchcraft to help them protect the innocent and keep evil demons at bay. You know, the typical teenage stuff. But just as Esme is starting to adjust to–and maybe even like–her new normal, life lobs another glitter bomb her way. The Synod–the Sitterhood’s governing circle–has called a Summit, a once-in-a-generation gathering that promises training, education, and whole lot of ice-breakers. Esme should be excited–a Summit might mean she can finally get the answers she desperately wants–but she can’t shake a building sense of panic. Especially since Cassandra’s not acting like herself; Esme’s dad is MIA; Pig is out of dog food; Janis is scared to be alone; and there’s a guy who seems too good to be true, again. Worst of all, it soon becomes clear, there’s no one watching the kids. It’s obvious the Summit is a haute mess, but will it be a deadly one, too?
Review: Oh my word I fell in love with this sequel! While the first book is still a bit better in my opinion I really enjoyed this sequel. I felt that the world building was very well done and the character development of the main characters and our side characters were also very well done. The plot of this book is much more intriguing then the first book and I am interested to see where this goes. I think this has an excellent shot of being one of my favorite series in most recent years. I love all of the little callbacks to babysitters and horror films and I love just basically everything about this book.
The only thing that I could really fault the book for is that it did take a little bit for me to remember the events of book one. but I do say that the author did well with presenting the material in a more relatable way than just a big info dump at the very beginning. but in getting that information it did take a little bit and I was confused through the first couple of chapters.
Author bio Anca Antoci started out as a fanfiction writer and then moved on to write her own story. Thus her debut novel Forget Me Not got published in January 2020. Her fanfiction stories are still available on her blog www. Living in Romania, Anca speaks English as a second language. Because she’s a passionate reader, Anca started a blog where she reviews fantasy books called Summon Fantasy. When she’s not reading or writing, Anca loves cooking and watching movies with her daughter while eating nachos. Forget Me Not – blurb
Deceiving the vampire that saved her could get her killed, but it’s a risk she’s willing to take. When tragedy strikes, Rae makes a terrible choice and struggles with the aftermath. In the wilderness of the Tongass rainforest, she finds herself hunted by creatures of hell, monsters she never dreamed could be real. A hidden world, an ancient race, and a secret she discovers by accident give a new meaning to her life but only if she can escape and return to civilization. If she is to survive, Rae must comply with Ari, her reluctant hero, and allow him to wipe away any memory of this realm. Knowledge is power, but is it worth dying for? When push comes to shove, that’s when real strength emerges. What would it take to discover what you’re made of?
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She ran through the darkness of the forest without looking back. Rae ducked under the low hanging branches the way she had a million times before. A howl from nearby brought her to a halt. Smiling, she wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand and whistled. He was close enough to hear her. “They found me! Take everyone back to safety, and I’ll take them off your trail. I’ll see you later!” Her words came out in a rush but she had no doubt he understood. Without wasting another moment, she ran in the opposite direction. This wasn’t her first rodeo with the forces of evil. A dark cloaked silhouette emerged from the cover of a thick tree. His voice was hoarse, and he mumbled something under his breath. As Rae got closer, his words got clearer. He was chanting in a language she didn’t understand, yet the effect wasn’t lost on her. A debilitating headache almost blinded her. She fell to her knees, grasping her temples, breathless, as blood trickled from her nose. A sharp pain tore through her head. An ear-splitting scream left her lips with what she imagined was her last breath. It was a signal for the others to keep running and not look back. They were on their own. The pain stopped as suddenly as it started, and she panted, filling her lungs with air again. Rae rubbed her eyes and waited a few moments to regain her sight while she used her sleeve to clean the blood up. The cloaked man knelt and sobbed while someone’s face buried in the crook of his neck, long blonde curls cascading over his shoulder. Seconds after the sobbing stopped, the man dropped to the ground. Blondie stood up and turned towards Rae. “Are you OK?” “I am now, thanks to you!” She recognized her sister’s voice and felt at ease. “It’s my job to look after you, Rae.” “Maria, it’s almost dawn. You should find shelter. Run as fast as you can! I’ll be fine on my own. I promise I’ll be careful!” Maria stopped for a moment and smiled. The full moon lit her face in a grotesque picture of pitch-black eyes, bloody lips, and protruding fangs. She took a deep breath, and her face morphed back to human. Her eyes reverted to their natural blue, revealing the pretty girl behind the monster. “Please be careful! You’re getting cocky, and that makes you reckless. That was one of their elders. You’re no match for them. You were lucky I got here when I did. As a shadow, too many lives depend on you. We can’t afford to lose you!”
Her voice softened. “I can’t lose you!” After a quick hug, Maria disappeared in a blurred motion into the darkness. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and listened for any sound that would give her stalker away. She counted the bodies she left in her wake, adding the one Maria killed. There was at least one more hunting for her. She couldn’t be taken by surprise if she expected an attack. Rae didn’t have to wait long. A twig snapped at her right. She pivoted with grace on the ball of her right foot and faced the threat. A man stepped out from the treeline holding a dagger and glaring her way. She rubbed her palms to create friction, a blue flame balling up between them. He didn’t stand a chance. Her lips curled into a smirk as the blue flame shot from her palms and hit him on the chest, stopping his heart. She was getting good at this. Another confirmed kill. This is where she belonged. Believing her actions kept the Resistance safe from the Council pleased Rae. She was part of a greater plan, more than a mere pawn in the grand scheme of life. She mattered! She was about to give herself a pat on the back when the smell of brimstone tested her gag reflex. That scent always came with bad news: hellhounds! She couldn’t outrun them, and her power was useless on them. Her best bet was to make it back to her car and drive like a bat out of hell. Her legs started working long before she finished her thought. She rushed towards the treeline where her car was waiting, and she almost made it. Almost! Her sprint was brought to a halt by a hunk of a man leaning shirtless against her car. His eyes caught her off guard: endless pits of smoldering fire. But his stare was ice cold. Just then, a waft of brimstone and coal tickled her nose and made her eyes water. Hellhounds were the most vicious chimeras: only used as enforcers by the Council. No one figured out what they looked like because no one lived to tell the tale. Rae woke up gasping and covered in a sheen layer of sweat. Reality came down with a vengeance. This kind of dream took atoll on her. It all started the night Maria died. They weren’t on speaking terms and Rae hadn’t even known that her sister was sick. Rae loved reading fantasy and paranormal books, so when she woke up from her nightmare, she assumed it was all because of her late-night readings. Then that dreaded phone call came and changed everything. A woman claiming to be Maria’s next-door neighbor gave her the bad news. These dreams plagued her each moment she managed to get some shuteye. Rae had trouble accepting
the sudden death of her sister, so she imagined her dreams came as a coping mechanism. Her brain changed Maria into a vampire so she would live forever. She believed it wasn’t real, but it made her feel better. Despite being almost always nightmares, Rae welcomed them. In her dreams, she was amazing: fearless, strong; a fighter who could shoot blue light from her hands and save the world. In her dreams, she became a hero, and her sister was still alive. In real life, none of these things were true. She was meek, scared, and alone.