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Book Blitz: Dreamwielder by Garrett Calcaterra

Book Blitz: Dreamwielder by Garrett Calcaterra published on

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About the Book

Dreamwielder by Garrett Calcaterra
(The Dreamwielder Chronicles, #1)
Published by: Diversion Books
Publication date: September 29th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

In a world shrouded by soot and smoke, young Makarria has literally been forbidden to dream.

Legend has foretold the demise of Emperor Thedric Guderian at the hands of a sorceress with royal blood, and the Emperor has made it his legacy to stamp out all magic from the Sargothian Empire in favor of primitive coal fired smelters and steam powered machines. When Guderian’s minions discover a Dreamwielder on a seaside farmstead, a chain of events forces Guderian’s new threat—the young Makarria—to flee from her home and embark upon an epic journey where her path intertwines with that of Princess Taera, her headstrong brother, Prince Caile, and the northman Siegbjorn, who captains a night-flying airship.

Dogging their every step is the part-wolf, part-raven sorcerer, Wulfram, and Emperor Guderian himself, a man who has the ability to stint magic and a vision to create a world where the laws of nature are beholden to men and machines. Only by learning to control the power she wields can Makarria save her newfound companions and stop the Emperor from irreversibly exterminating both the magic in humans and their bond with nature.

Dreamwielder is available from Diversion books.

Souldrifter: The Dreamwielder Chronicles – Book Two was published by Diversion Books on Semptember 29, 2015.

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Excerpt

“Hold on, what do you mean you know what to do?” Caile started to say, but Makarria ignored him and sprinted off through the tunnel toward the city before the words were halfway out of his mouth. “Get back here!” Caile yelled, but Makarria paid him no heed.

Caile snatched up his weapons with a curse and ran off in the direction of Issborg. At the edge of the cavern city, he caught sight of Makarria nearly halfway to the other side—the only movement in the entire city. The Snjaer Firan were hidden away in their homes and had closed the shutters over every window. Only the blue daylight protruding through the glacier aboe illuminated the city. Damn it all, she’s fast, Caile swore inwardly as he chased after Makarria. When he finally caught up to her at the far end of the city he grabbed her shoulder and dragged her to a halt, heavily winded.

“Stop. Wait!”

Makarria pushed his hand aside and trotted on. “Please don’t try to stop me.”

“I’m not here to stop you. I’m here to help. Now just slow down for moment and tell me what it is you think you’re going to do that a sorceresses can’t.”

They were getting close to the chambers beyond the city now and Makarria slowed to a brisk walk. “I need to get Kadar into one of the chambers.”

“All right, that’s a start. What chambers?”

“A few hundred yards down the corridor on the right, there’s a bunch of caves with doors.”

“Does it matter which one we get him into?”

“No.”

“All right,” he said again. “And what do we do after that?”

“Then I do my work. Quiet now. We’re getting close.”

Caile bristled at being shushed. “Slow down then,” he whispered. “We don’t want to rush headlong into something.”

As if on cue, a heavy concussion echoed through the cavern.

“I’ve heard that sound before,” Caile whispered. “That’s sorcerers fighting.” He left his sword sheathed and instead strung his bow and notched an arrow, remembering what Talitha had told him about trying to kill sorcerers. Surprise them. Be unpredictable.

The sound of concussions and bellowing flames grew louder and more frequent as they continued on, and before long they could hear voices, although, they could not make out the words. Talitha’s indecipherable shouts were little more than guttural moans, while Kadar’s heavily accented words were taunting in their tone. Suddenly, dark figures appeared before them, and Caile almost let loose his arrow but luckily held it back at the last moment, realizing it was the Snjaer Firan warriors who had accompanied Talitha. There were only four of them, and they all huddled close to the wall at their right.

“We’re here to help,” Makarria whispered when one of them turned back to see her and Caile approaching. “Where’s Kadar?”

“Up there,” the man said with effort, and Makarria and Caile saw that he was badly burned on one side of his face. “Talitha is trapped on the far side, below the glacier.”

“Where’s the rest of your men?” Caile asked. “I thought there were twelve of you?”

“There were.”

Caile pursed his lips and pushed his way forward past the four men to peer farther down the corridor. A torrent of flames spat forward in the distance, and for a brief moment Caile could make out Talitha’s form huddled behind a stalagmite twenty yards ahead and Kadar a little farther beyond her. Then the flames were gone and he saw only shadows again. Caile stepped back safely out of sight. “He’s got her cornered, and he’s too far away for me to get a clean look at him,” he whispered to Makarria. “How is it you think we’re going to get him into one of those caves?”

“I’ll get him into the open,” Makarria said. “When I yell, start shooting.”

“I don’t see how—” Caile started to say, but before he could get the rest of the sentence out Makarria strode forward into the middle of the corridor.

“Kadar!” Makarria yelled. “Kadar! It’s me, Makarria. Stop, please.”

“Makarria, no, get back,” Talitha’s voice rang out.

Makarria ignored her and walked on, fear in her belly. He won’t risk killing you—you’re too important to him, she told herself, but now that she was exposed, she wasn’t so certain.

Kadar peered out from his hiding spot and began laughing an oily, rodent-like laugh. “It is all right, Makarria. Yes, come to me. I would not hurt you.”

“Leave the woman alone,” Makarria said. “And then you can have me.” She stopped parallel to the first of the caves on the right. She saw in front of her the smoldering bodies of the slain Snjaer Firan warriors but quickly averted her eyes and kept her attention solely on Kadar.

“But I can kill her and still take you,” Kadar said.

“Not if I’m in the way, you can’t,” Makarria retorted, and she stepped forward to place herself firmly in the path between the two sorcerers. “Go,” she said, looking back toward Talitha.

“Are you mad?” Talitha hissed. “You’ll be killed.”

“Just go,” Makarria told her. “Trust me.”

In the distance, Kadar laughed again. “Go on. Let the little girl save you for now.”

“Go,” Makarria said again.

Talitha paused for a moment longer, then sprang from behind the stalagmite and scurried back into the cavern behind Makarria toward the others.

“My end of the bargain is met now,” Kadar said. “Now it is your turn. Come to me.”

“I’m right here. Come get me.”

Kadar stepped forward from his hiding spot, and when he spoke there was menace in his voice. “What is it you hope to accomplish, girl? Your dream powers are weak and unhoned still. I could burn you to ash or bring that ice crashing down upon your head before you even close your eyes, let alone dream.”

“Not if you want me to kill the Emperor, you can’t.”

Kadar smiled and his black teeth glimmered as he slowly stepped forward. “You are a clever girl. Too clever for your own good.”

He was almost upon her now. She waited one breath longer, then turned and sprinted away. “Now!” she screamed.

Caile stepped out into the corridor and loosed his arrow. It whizzed by Makarria’s ear, and Kadar leapt to the side, just narrowly dodging the projectile. He raised his hands to strike back, but Makarria had changed her course to run right for Caile, blocking Kadar’s line of sight. Caile fired another arrow over the top of Makarria, and this time Kadar had no choice but to jump for cover in the nearest of the chambers.

“He’s in!” Caile yelled, notching another arrow.

Makarria skidded to a halt and plopped down on her butt, facing back toward the chamber. “Keep him in there,” she said breathlessly and closed her eyes.

“I only have four arrows left—move fast,” Caile yelled, but Makarria was already halfway in her trance…

About the Author

GarrettGarrett Calcaterra is author of the epic fantasy novel Dreamwielder, available from Diversion Books. In addition, he is author of the horror collection Umbral Visions, and co-author of the mosaic fantasy novel The Roads to Baldairn Motte. His humor titles include Code Brown and A Good Brew is Hard to Find. When not writing, Garrett enjoys hiking with his two dogs and quaffing good beer. Learn more at www.garrettcalcaterra.com

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Book Blitz: The Fire Sisters by A.G. Henley

Book Blitz: The Fire Sisters by A.G. Henley published on 2 Comments on Book Blitz: The Fire Sisters by A.G. Henley

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About the Book

Fennel and Peree are finally where they’ve worked ceaselessly to be: together and safe from the Scourge in the protected village of Koolkuna. But on the day of their partnering ceremony the children of the village are stolen away—Fenn’s loyal companion, Kora, among them.

Fenn wants to bring the children home, especially as the villagers seem to blame Peree and her for the tragedy. Only since the death of her own family, she’s terrified that a wrong move on her part will lead to the loss of others she loves.

Despite her apprehension, Fenn and Peree join a small search party led by rival Kaiya, the one person who stands a chance of finding the children thanks to her mysterious past. As they travel away from the safe waters of Koolkuna and into the Scourge-infested wilds, Fenn endures Kai’s scorn, her subtle designs on Peree, and the squabbling of the group. But nothing in her life so far has prepared her for the fierce warrior women who will steal others’ children to preserve their own existence—the Fire Sisters.

If Fenn is to survive the threat of the Scourge, rescue the children from the Sisters, and have a hope of making a life with Peree in Koolkuna, she must face her fear of failure and loss and become the leader she’s destined to be.

Read The Fire Sisters, the thrilling conclusion to the bestselling young adult fantasy Brilliant Darkness series! There are three novels and two short stories in the series. The first novel, The Scourge, was a finalist for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award.

RECOMMENDED SERIES READING ORDER:
The Scourge
The Keeper (novella)
The Defiance
The Gatherer (novella)
The Fire Sisters

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Excerpt

“The Sisters were something else, Fenn,” Peree says. “All painted white. Armed to the teeth. And that scream… Thrush went white as a stone.”

I won’t forget the Sisters’ battle cry any time soon. “Why didn’t the children cry or shout? Why couldn’t I hear them at all?”

He lets out a long breath. “I don’t know. They weren’t gagged or anything. But they looked odd. Kind of… slack-faced.”

I shiver, and he rubs my arms.

“It reminded me of a story Kadee told me once,” he says, “about a man who came to a village and, at the request of the people, played his pipes to lead all the rats that had been bothering them away. But once the rats were gone, the people wouldn’t give the piper what they promised him in return. So the next night, he came back, played his pipes, and took all their children away. Only three children remained behind to tell the villagers what had happened. One was lame, and so couldn’t follow the other children. One was deaf, and so couldn’t hear the music. And one was blind and couldn’t find her way.”

I make a face at that. “What did the people do?”

“They begged and pleaded with the piper to give their children back, but he was angry, and he wouldn’t.”

I sigh. “Peree, I wish Kadee would teach you some new stories. Ones with happy endings.” I start to move away. “We should get ready.”

“Wait.” He draws me back into his arms. “The timing could be better, but… I don’t know when I’ll have you to myself again.”

He kisses me.

We’ve shared a lot of kisses now—sweet, soft, tender, steamy, seductive, intense. I never knew there were so many kinds. This one starts slow and builds, like a fire catching. My legs go weak, and my insides turn to liquid.

I press myself against him, wanting no distance between us. His back is muscled under my hands, and his slim hips fit well against my own. His sweet honeysuckle scent makes me dizzy. If only we could lose ourselves in each other, forget everything and everyone else… let it all slip away in the heat of our passion.

For a moment, I let myself pretend we can.

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About the Author

A.G. Henley is the author of the BRILLIANT DARKNESS series.

A.G. is also a clinical psychologist, which means people either tell her their life stories on airplanes, or avoid her at parties when they’ve had too much to drink. Neither of which she minds. When she’s not writing fiction or shrinking heads, she can be found herding her children and their scruffy dog, Guapo, to various activities while trying to remember whatever she’s inevitably forgotten to tell her husband. She lives in Denver, Colorado.

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Hookah by Cameron Jace

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Hookah by Cameron Jace published on

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Book & Author Details:

Hookah (Insanity #4) by Cameron Jace

Publication date: September 28th 2015
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:
A Plague Scarier than Death
Alice and the Pillar have to stop a Wonderland Monster who’d lashed out an incurable disease onto the world. Their biggest challenge is that the world loves this monster so much.

A Cure Larger than Life
The only way to save the world is to travel to the other side of the globe, and peek into one of Lewis Carroll and the Pillar’s darker pasts.

A Truth Madder Than Fiction
This time, the price of saving the world is too high. Alice will have to live with the consequences of the maddest logic of the world surrounding her.

Will Alice find who the Pillar really is? What he wants? Is she brave enough to handle the one Wonderland Monster she’d thought was a good friends? And even so, is the world ready the truth?

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Get book 1: Insanity (Mad in Wonderland) for FREE on Amazon!

Insanity 4 is available for pre-order NOW

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Excerpt

Have you ever jumped out of a plane in a parachute, down to meet up with people who’d take selfies of your blood on their faces for breakfast?

I am doing it right now. And guess what, it’s nighttime, so not only am I free-falling, but I am also doing it in the dark. That’s what I call a bonus.

Throwing away the Pillar’s goggles, I hear the plane explode in midair above me.

Oh my god, this is for real!

“I’ve always wanted to blow up my employees,” the Pillar shouts all the way down. I am not sure how I can hear him. “But you’ll be fine. Just pull the red lever when I tell you to.”

In spite of all the madness, I feel unexpectedly fine up here in the air. Fine is an understatement. I feel euphoric. I want to feel like this every day. It’s ridiculous how much I am enjoying this, although I may get face-palmed by the earth in a few seconds.

Mary Ann, also known as Alice Wonder, 19 years old, dead and gone. I imagine the scripture on my grave says. But who cares? She was mad anyways.

Suddenly I realize that the madness hasn’t started yet. Not at all.

Down below, I can see something glittering. The vast land where we’re landing is nothing but an endless field of ridiculously over-sized mushrooms.

Big mushrooms growing everywhere, whitening up the black of the night.

Author Bio

CamCameron Jace is the bestselling author of the Grimm Diaries and Insanity series. A graduate of the college of Architecture, collector of out-of-print books, he is obsessed with the origins of folk tales and the mysterious storytellers who spread them. Three of his books made Amazon’s Top 100 Customer Favorites in Kindle 2013 & Amazon’s Top 100 kindle list. Cameron lives in California with his girlfriend. When he isn’t writing or collecting books, he is playing music.

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Review: The Grave Winner by Lindsey R Loucks

Review: The Grave Winner by Lindsey R Loucks published on 2 Comments on Review: The Grave Winner by Lindsey R Loucks

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Leigh Baxton is terrified her mom will come back from the dead — just like the prom queen did.

While the town goes beehive over the news, Leigh bikes to the local cemetery and buries some of her mom’s things in her grave to keep her there. When the hot and mysterious caretaker warns her not to give gifts to the dead, Leigh cranks up her punk music and keeps digging.

She should have listened.

Two dead sorceresses evicted the prom queen from her grave to bury someone who offered certain gifts. Bury them alive, that is, then resurrect them to create a trio of undead powerful enough to free the darkest sorceress ever from her prison inside the earth.

With help from the caretaker and the dead prom queen, Leigh must find out what’s so special about the gifts she gave, and why the sorceresses are stalking her and her little sister. If she doesn’t, she’ll either lose another loved one or have to give the ultimate gift to the dead – herself.

I’m really enjoying the trend of genuinely frightening YA. As you might have guessed from my Fear Street Retrospective, I spent much of my teen years reading horror that ranged from Stephen King, to R. L. Stine, from the classics like Bram Stoker, to Bentley Small (we all have dark pasts, okay?). I get why teens need the catharsis of reading material that scares the crap out of them. Teens are subject to hormones that increase the size of their emotions (make theirs a double), and a healthy way of working through strong, negative emotions is through literature.

The Grave Winner packs several emotional punches. Leigh’s mother is newly dead; she is dealing with grief that makes her initial state (confused, angry, making weird choices like burying things as gifts for the dead) seem – maybe not normal, but at least sympathetic. I felt for Leigh right away. In a genre that is awash with indecisive girls, Leigh is a refreshing change. Her confusion is rooted in both her mother’s fresh death, and in her own lack of exposure to the supernatural. Her decisions are never shuffled under the rug of – oh, but she’s a teenager, she does stupid stuff. I may not agree with everything Leigh does, but I understand where she is coming from as she does it.

There is a twist in this book.

I will not say anything more about that because it needs to be revealed as the author planned it. It wasn’t enough to make me start the book over from the very beginning (as I’ve done before, and hopefully will do so again), but I did feel some amount of vindicated surprise. I would probably benefit by another read, as you will find the beginning chapters to have a different connotation than they did on the first read.

This is not a standalone. What Gifts She Carried will be re-released on September 29, and the third book has a cover, a title, and the vague release date of Winter 2015:

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Lindsey R Loucks has the added credentials of being a librarian — she knows people who like to read, what they like to read, and has probably paid some attention to marketing trends. Not only is she an author of Young Adult, but she has a New Adult title available (Haunted Chemistry) that I need to read ASAP.

If you are looking for a fun, slightly violent read, look no further! Lindsey R Loucks will keep you busy for at least a couple of weeks.

 

More About the Author:

Lindsey R. Loucks works as a school librarian in rural Kansas. When she’s not discussing books with anyone who will listen, she’s dreaming up her own stories. Eventually her brain gives out, and she’ll play hide and seek with her cat, put herself in a chocolate induced coma, or watch scary movies alone in the dark to reenergize.
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The Lost Girl: A Fear Street Retrospective

The Lost Girl: A Fear Street Retrospective published on

Every month, Scholastic provided Cloverland Elementary School with a glossy magazine filled with promises of new books, like the latest Baby Sitter’s Club or Sweet Valley Twin title. The year I was betrayed by my fifth grade teacher (she told my mom I was hiding contraband Stephen King novels in my messy desk and reading the nastier parts to the other kids at recess), a new series started showing up on the pages of that glossy magazine: Goosebumps. It immediately appealed to me, twisted little kid that I was.

I did not read all of the Goosebumps books, but for a couple years, I read each installment. My interest waned when I stopped being interested in the mystery and/or surprised by the twist. Goosebumps was not twisted, violent, or gory enough to satisfy my dark heart. One night, my friend had a sleepover for her birthday. Because I was easily overwhelmed by being around so many people, I sneaked into her older sister’s room to take a look at her bookshelf. I was mostly interested in the Sweet Valley High books, but a familiar name caught my eye. This was the night that I discovered R. L. Stine had written another series: Fear Street.

I smuggled a couple out of the sister’s room and huddled on the couch the rest of the evening. I would not say that Fear Street changed my world. I already had a couple of Stephen King books under my belt, after all, and Fear Street is to Stephen King and Dean Koontz what Sweet Valley High is to Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Lisa Kleypas. But they were dark, savage, and Stine clearly relished writing about evil teenagers killing people as much as Lurlene McDaniel relished writing about teenagers dying of cancer.

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See? He even notes that his job is to scare kids.

The Best Friend stands out as one of the creepier installments. A young teen with an obvious mental disorder attaches herself to her new next door neighbor and tries to take over her life. Another favorite, The Stepsister, had a similar theme, though the stepsister was widely viewed as a goody two-shoes until the heroine revealed her as a cunning murderess. Some of them even had moral lessons. In What Holly Heard, I learned that listening to gossip could end with me being brutally murdered; I was cautious of going on a Double Date, aware that it could lead to a hostage situation. Wrong Number taught me that my happy-go-lucky love for prank-calling could summon a being of ancient evil. And, above all, I learned that Cheerleaders are vicious gangs of evil, second only to Satan.

After a number of the loosely connected books in the series were published, R. L. Stine decided to write the origin story. Fear Street Saga turned out to be the pinnacle of what the series as a whole has to offer: stark betrayal, teenagers in extreme peril, evil teenagers, an evil that is passed down from generation to generation, hauntings, lost loves, and suggestions of reincarnation. Of the series, it was the most maturely written.

Until now.

R.L. Stine took a long break from his young adult horror book franchise. Right around when I was in high school, the time between releases grew longer and longer. Finally, they petered out until Fear Street faded from my memory. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I discovered I had a chance to review the new book. I jumped at it.

The Lost Girl is the third book in the new six-book series set to take place in Shadyside. Like its predecessors, it is a standalone. The only connections it has to previous books – unless, of course, I am missing some deeply hidden Easter eggs – are the location and some of the magic tricks. The story and the characters are entirely new.

Michael Frost is a teenager at Shadyside High School. His father owns a snowmobile rental shop, and his mother is sweet and kind. His girlfriend, Pepper, has the temper to go with her bright red hair, and his several close friends make up a pack of fairly normal teens. Everything changes when he meets a beautiful girl who tells him she is lost, and asks him to help her. He is drawn to her immediately, despite his conscience telling him it was wrong, he had a girlfriend, and something about the lost girl was just a little off. Before he could extricate himself from the lost girl, a terrible accident occurred. I can’t say any more without giving away a couple of spoilers, but we all know how much R. L. Stine likes his twists.

The writing itself is mature, assured, and unhurried. For all that I enjoyed Fear Street (and I still do), I knew even then that the books were rushed, the chapters were abrupt, and the story sped along much too swiftly to really and truly care about the characters. This was part of the charm of the books: they read like slasher films. This one is a little more relaxed. R. L. Stine gave us time to care about the character, and to nurture our curiosity. This was partly achieved by the fact a third of the novel is set in the past. Stine was able to maintain the swift pace of a traditional slasher, while also adding layers to the story. In the past, this book would have been two different installments in the series, rather than knit together into a book that is actually a fine example of all the best things about a Fear Street novel.

Reading this book and writing this review has been a bit of a trip down memory lane. These books are not going to win any huge awards, but they were a pretty big part of my adolescence. That made it a joy to read, and this review a joy to write.

Fear Street by R.L. Stine will be published by St. Martin’s Griffin on September 29, 2015

 

Review: Random by Alma Alexander

Review: Random by Alma Alexander published on 5 Comments on Review: Random by Alma Alexander

The Young Adult genre is filled with trilogies and tetralogies. All manner of beasts and creatures require three or four books to properly tell their story. And they aren’t wimpy, 250 page books either; they’re doorstoppers. They are 150,000 angsty words of teenage drama combined with fantasy and trauma. A lot of them have a sense of sameness: a love triangle, a lonely outcast heroine, usually some mean girls, a dangerous hero, and a secret world filled with .

The description of Random reveals that it is a cut above these dime a dozen fantasy romance trilogies.

My name is Jazz Marsh. I am a Random Were, which means I am a Were of no fixed form – like all Random Were, my family can become any warm-blooded creature which is the last thing they see before they Turn. For me, when my time came, that meant… trouble.

I was quite young when I lost my older sister, Celia, and my family never spoke about her. It was only when I found the secret diaries that she had left behind that I began to discover the truth behind her life and her death.

I never understood what drove my moody and dangerous older brother until I began to get an inkling about his part in Celia’s death… and until, driven to the edge of patience and understanding, he finally had to face his own Turn problems… and disastrously took matters into his own hands. One thing is clear.

Everything I thought I knew about Were-kind was wrong.

 

This is a love story. Oh, there is no romantic lead, or even the hint of a subplot. It is a love story between Jazz and her family members. Jazz was the baby of the family; she did not have to live through leaving the Old Country, did not have to cast off her old name and choose one more fitting for the real world, and was born in such a different time and place that it was almost like she was not a real part of the family. This is a subtle and recurring theme. When we first start getting into the heart of the story, when Jazz begins publishing her dead sister’s diaries on her blog, we begin to realize that Jazz is lonely, and set apart, and her family is deliberately doing that to her.

Jazz’s sister Celia kept a journal up until the last day of her life, and it is through these pages that Jazz begins to know her. Sure, she lived with her for seven years, and even slept in the same room for two, but even so simple a fact as her sister’s real name (Svetlana) was new to her. As she reads onward, her relationships with the other members of her family are slowly deepened (and then blown wide open, but I’m not going to go into detail). It is such subtle writing.

Alexander has a lot to talk about in Random: bullying, prejudice, cruelty, being different, family secrets. But she manages it with grace and skill, as she has in so many of her other books. It was the family relationships that really intrigued me, but Random has something for everyone.Continue reading Review: Random by Alma Alexander

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