Book Review: The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman



The Last Good Day of the Year
Author: Jessica Warman
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Released: May 19th 2015
Review Source: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

  

The signs are everywhere, Jory's stepfather, Caleb, says.Red leaves in the springtime. Pages torn from a library book. All the fish in the aquarium facing the same way. A cracked egg with twin yolks. Everywhere and anywhere. And because of them Jory's life is far from ordinary. He must follow a very specific set of rules: don't trust anyone outside the family, have your works at the ready just in case, and always, always watch out for the signs. The end is coming, and they must be prepared.

School is Jory's only escape from Caleb's tight grasp, and with the help of new friends Jory begins to explore a world beyond his family's farm. As Jory's friendships grow, Caleb notifies Jory's mother and siblings that the time has come for final preparations.

They begin an exhausting schedule digging a mysterious tunnel in anticipation of the disaster. But as the hold gets deeper, so does the family's doubt about whether Caleb's prophecy is true. When the stark reality of his stepfather's plans becomes clear, Jory must choose between living his own life or following Caleb, shutting his eyes to the bright world he's just begun to see.

I went back and forth with this one - honestly, this didn’t work for me. At all. It was less than an okay read. Somewhat irritating. Unfortunately, instead of getting a thrilling novel, in which I was excited to read, I read a full novel full of details not pertaining to the “mystery” of the abduction. With no plot development. Instead, only the last 10 pages of the book tells you exactly what happens. 

The premises of the story sounds like a heartbreak. A family that is shattered after someone abducted their younger daughter. I honestly believed I would get something like The Lovely Bones. Nope, it was more like the family didn’t exist anymore. Everyone went their own way. And this book tells you how Sam view them.

The story is told in Sam’s perspective - the past and the present. Which makes the reader, well me, wonder WHY? Why tell us about a mother life? I wanted to know about the abduction. Why was she taken from her family? Why in this small town, would people blame an innocent man for this action without enough evidences? 

I almost DNF this book but I was stubborn enough to finish to see if it was ever going to tells us  what happened to Sam’s sister, Turtle. I wonder if Sam was ever going to either tell the truth whether she really kept her eyes shut while knowing someone was taking her sister or if she really didn’t know who was responsible for this. 

With this said, I do have to admit the last 10 pages were thrilling. My first words when things started to pick up: FINALLY! Only to notice the book was about to end. 


Thanks for the copy ReadingTeen!

Book Review: Made For You by Melissa Marr


Made For You
Author: Melissa Marr
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Young Adult | Mystery
Released: March 26th 2015
Review Source: HarperCollins UK | Netgalley

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.


This book wasn't as I expected, but ended being a thrilling read which gets your heart and natural curiosity going. We got to see point of views from both Judge's and Eva: the innocent victim and the one terrorizing her. It was beyond interesting that one second we were reading an innocent victim's point of view then the next second were diving into a completely different point of view. The point of view of a person who's completely and utterly transfixed on Eva. I must say, I've never read a book with this nature and got the psychopaths's point of view. I loved getting inside Judge's head and found out how he thought, felt, how his mind worked and finding out reasoning behind the utterly psychotic things they did.


"When the car hit Eva, the thump of her body was louder than I expected. It reminded me more of hitting a deer than a possum. I’m not sure why I was surprised."

That was one of the first glimpse we got into Judges head. My first thoughts were "what an absolute nutter". He was completely and utterly out of the right mind. Well and truly nutters with definitely more than a few screws loose in his head. But it only captivated my attention that little bit more. He is crazy, and nobody could seem to figure out who Judge was, when or if he was going to strike again, and who would be his next victim, and that made him dangerous. More dangerous than he already was.

Made For You had a realistic contemporary feel but there was still was a touch of the uncanny with Eva’s “death visions”. For some unknown reason, after Eva's accident, she was prone to seeing how people died. Whenever somebody touched Eva's skin, their death would run through Eva's head like an unwanted thought. She couldn't control, prevent or stop them. While I didn't think it totally fit into the story, it was a crucial plot point which gave it the perfect conclusion.

But it wasn't only the thrilling aspect which made this such a good novel, but also the characters and romance. Though the romance was only slight, and not a dominating part in the novel, there was a perfect balance of it. That Eva was a likable character was a very favourable trait also. Because of Eva's death visions, she sees and knows things nobody else does, yet she doesn't hide things. She communicates, doesn't withhold secrets and doesn't dive head first into danger. She was a logical character and I appreciated that so much.

To clarify: before I found out which gender Judge was, I always thought of him to be male, which is why I'm using that context here. Not as a potential spoiler, but it's surprisingly hard to write a review regarding a person and not say he, his etc.


Series Highlight: The Aspen Series By Colette Auclair + Giveaway





The Kentucky Derby is just one week away and we are giving away promo codes for the EBooks Thrown, Jumped, and Branded in Colette Auclair’s award-winning Aspen Valley series!

THROWN (December 2013; $5.99) is the first book in The Aspen Valley Series.  Professional horse trainer Amanda Vogel dreams of riding jumpers in the Olympics, but after seeing her best friend die in a riding accident, she’s so traumatized she can’t compete. Broke and desperate, she takes a summer job in Aspen teaching some big-shot widowed movie star’s spoiled daughters to ride—and braces herself for three miserable months. But the movie star is funny, down-to-earth, and gorgeous—and his spoiled daughters are just desperate for a mother figure. By Labor Day, she has to choose between capturing a gold medal…and the man who has captured her heart.

JUMPED (August 2014; $5.99), the second book in The Aspen Valley Series, is Colette Auclair’s steamy sequel to her “page-turning debut” (Library Journal), Thrown. A young woman in the equestrian fashion business finds herself head over heels for her ex-husband.  Thoroughly enjoying herself at her best friend Amanda’s wedding, Beth is shocked when she is seated next to her ex-husband, Finn, at the reception. Determined to not let this fluster her, Beth strikes up a conversation only to learn Finn isn’t the same man she walked away from. 

Relieved the reception is over, Beth is looking forward to a relaxing weekend against the beautiful backdrop of sunny Aspen at Amanda and Grady’s estate.  Little does she know Finn will be partaking in the weekend activities.  But just as Beth decides to keep as much distance between her and Finn as possible, Finn has a terrible accident and Beth is stuck being his bedside nurse.  Over the course of the weekend, Beth and Finn discover that the wounds of their failed marriage are not all that’s left. There are sparks…and hope. But just as they decide to give it another try, Finn confesses a huge secret that could destroy everything he’s fought to get back—Beth, their relationship, and another chance at love.  Will Beth turn away, or will she take a leap of faith and say “I do” once (again) and for all? 

BRANDED (December 2014; $5.99), the third book in The Aspen Valley Series, will take readers on a wild and dreamy ride through the beautiful valleys and mountains of Colorado.  Professional, polite, and pearl-wearing, dressage rider and resort consultant Cordy Sims is the last person anyone would expect to initiate a weekend of debauchery. And yet, that’s exactly what she does after meeting a handsome stranger at an Aspen resort. Agreeing that they’ll leave personal details at the door, they indulge in a memorable weekend of carnal recreation. On Sunday night, Cordy doesn’t want to leave this charming, seductive man, but she must play by her own rules.

On Monday, Cordy sits in a meeting at the ad agency that’s hired her as a freelancer, and her professional and personal worlds collide. Turns out agency owner Jack Cormier looks just as good in the boardroom as he did in the bedroom. Forced to work together, Cordy and Jack can’t ignore the chemistry that crackles between them, or the deeper feelings that have developed. But secrets and scars from their pasts may prove too formidable, even for a love that’s as powerful as it is unexpected.  



Praise for The Aspen Valley Series:

“The story portrays two convincingly flawed but likeable characters who find each other’s aults both provocative and exciting, as they try to decide whether a second chance at marriage is worth the risk.”
Publishers Weekly on Jumped

“There is enough tension among all the forces at play to keep the pages turning. Debut novelist Auclair is a 2012 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, winner of the 2011 Winter Rose Contest, and a finalist in the 2011 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest.  Recommended for most romance fans.”
—Library Journal on Thrown


 


Colette Auclair has been a copywriter for more than twenty years.  She’s ridden and shown horses since she was ten and owns a lovely twenty-year-old Thoroughbred mare.  Thrown, her first novel, was a 2012 Golden Heart finalist in the single-title contemporary romance category.  It also won the 2011 Winter Rose Contest (Yellow Rose Romance Writers) and finaled in the 2011 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest (NE Ohio Romance Writers Assoc.)  Jumped is second and Branded is third in the Aspen Valley series.  Please visit coletteauclair.com.

 
A Pocket Star EBook Kentucky Derb-E Treat! The Aspen Valley Series

Movie Review: A24's EX MACHINA


EX MACHINA

Release Date: April 17th 2015
Director: Alex Garland
Writer: Alex Garland
Main Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander
MPAA Rating: Rated R for “graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence.”
Genres: Drama | Sci-Fi
Running Time: 110 minutes

Social Media: Website | Facebook | Twitter | IMDb | Instagram
Alex Garland, writer of 28 DAYS LATER and SUNSHINE, makes his directorial debut with the stylish and cerebral thriller, EX MACHINA. Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at an internet-search giant, wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company's brilliant and reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac).

Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing Test—charging him with evaluating the capabilities, and ultimately the consciousness, of Nathan’s latest experiment in artificial intelligence. That experiment is Ava (Alicia Vikander), a breathtaking A.I. whose emotional intelligence proves more sophisticated––and more deceptive––than the two men could have imagined.


Ex Machina is the new science fiction film starring Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander in the latest edition of man versus himself.

At first glance, Ex Machina looks like a movie about artificial intelligence, but it is really so much more than the typical robot movie. This really is a film about man's willingness to destroy himself via new and interesting ways.  It just so happens that what may bring demise in Ex Machina is a machine of artificial intelligence. 

The story begins when Caleb (Gleeson) wins a trip to Nathan's (Isaac) house for a week. Nathan is Caleb's genius millionaire boss.  Caleb is at Nathan's home in order to test an "AI" or artificial intelligent or as I would know her, a robot. Caleb is there to determine whether the robot is real enough to have actual artificial intelligence. This particular robot is named and AI is named Ava (Vikander). Ava is a beautiful and sad... or is she?  

See almost nothing in Ex Machina is what it seems. Really, almost nothing. The plot messes with the audience's sense of reality and belief system. It's one mind trip of a film, and that is what sets this film apart and makes it worth the price of admission. 

Like Caleb, the audience is on their toes at all times. The audience can't trust what it's told or what it sees.  Everything is relevant and everything is a clue.  A clue to what? Well, you're going to have to watch Ex Machina to figure out what I'm talking about. 

I think this film is smart and intriguing.  It makes the audience think. If you don't get lost in the tech talk, you should have a good time. I got lost in the tech to talk and still had a good time. Gleeson and Vikander are great in their roles. Isaac is the weakest actor of the film.  I had a problem in him as a physical badass.   But, don't let that dissuade you from going to see it.

It really is a good time. The story is intriguing and the acting is great. I know I didn't do the tech part justice, but I hope I still conveyed that it's a good film. You will be guessing at the edge of your seat. Don't take my word for it. See Ex Machina now playing across the country. 


Book Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen



Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Released: May 5th 2015
Review Source: Viking Juvenile

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.


One thing is for sure, I am late to the Sarah Dessen game. This is my first book by Dessen and it definitely won’t be my last.

Saint Anything follows Sydney, a high school student whose life has always been in the shadow of her older brother. Even when Peyton, Sydney’s brother, becomes reckless and ends up in jail for a horrific accident she still sits in the shadow of him. Saint Anything is Sydney’s journey of acceptance, family, and love.

After Peyton ends up in jail, Sydney decides to switch schools, become her own person, or at least not be known only as Peyton’s little sister anymore. She needs to be somewhere where the whispers aren’t about her family and her brother. That’s where she meets the Chatham family, Mac and Layla, who quickly become best friends of Sydney’s. Mac and Layla truly bring out the best in Sydney, they crack the exterior. Layla is someone Sydney can talk to about her brother, and not have preconceived notions toward him, she can freely speak of how angry she is and not be disregarded for it.

I felt a lot of emotions while reading this book, it brought out anger, happiness, and sorrow. I was sad over how much Sydney was blown off by her parents, I was angry right along with her over her brother and his destructive path, and I was happy over how much greatness the entire Chatham family brought out of Sydney.Saint Anything had everything you’d want in this kind of contemporary story, self-discovery, family growth, romance, friendship, and acceptance. This was truly a beautiful read and I wish I could reread it again for the first time, but since I can’t do that I’ll just go pick up some of Dessen’s other books.



Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genres: Contemporary | Coming of Age
Released: April 1st 2012
Review Source: Purchased

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she's never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and - in Eleanor's eyes - impossibly cool, Park's worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mixed tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor and Park is funny, sad, shocking and true - an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.


I had really high expectations for this book. There is so much hype surrounding it - John Green even reviewed it on the New York Times. Even after all of that, this book still surpassed my expectations. It’s witty, awkward, heart-wrenching, and so, so beautiful.

Eleanor comes from not-the-best of families - A father who doesn’t want her, a mother who’s stopped caring, and a verbally abusive step dad. Park, however, is the poster-boy for this city - Mom and Dad met in Korea while his dad was deployed in the military, they fell in love and came back to the U.S., and he has a close relationship to his brother.

When Eleanor returns home to her mother, after being kicked out for the past year by her step dad, she dreads having to start over again. That is until she actually starts speaking to the boy she’s sat next to on the school bus for the whole year. Don’t misunderstand the context - it was all baby steps, side glances, and learning one another. Which I think just adds to why these characters are so special.

They are truly in absolute love with each other, even at only 16 years-old. The language just makes your heart swell and an involuntary smile to spread on your face.

Although, I will say, it has one of those endings that leaves you wanting more even if the whole conflict in the story was resolved. I know even if there were to be a book 2, it would never compare to this masterpiece of literature.

There’s not much else I can say about this book other than to get your hands on it and have the best time while reading it. It really is all you can do.


Cover Reveal: Fury by Fisher Amelie + Excerpt



FURY, the much anticipated third standalone of The Seven Deadly Series by Fisher Amelie, releases May 4th, 2015! As we count down the days, Fisher is teasing us yet again! Here is the highly awaited cover!!


Fury
The Seven Deadly #3
Author: Fisher Amelie
Reading Level: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Released: May 4th 2015
Revenge is an euphoric thing. Trust me on this. Nothing compares to the release you get when you ruin someone’s life. When they’ve stolen important things. Things that didn’t belong to them. Things I revel in making them pay for.

What? Have I offended you? I’m not here to appeal to your delicate senses. I have no intention of placating your wishes or living within your personal belief system nor do I care if you hate me. And you will hate me. Because I’m a brutal, savage, cold-blooded murderer and I’m here for my revenge.

I’m Ethan Moonsong...And this is the story about how I went from the world’s most sacrificing man to the most feared and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
The colorful cover for the first two novels in The Seven Deadly Series.





Excerpt


“Ethan?” she asked. “Is that you?”

“Hello, Finley,” I answered.

“How are you?” she asked, somehow devoid of the pity I’d often heard in so many greetings since Cricket. I was grateful to her for this.

“I’m fine,” I slurred, lifting my head a bit to meet her eyes.

A grin met her lips. “You were always a terrible liar.” Her smile fell a little. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m drinking.”

She narrowed her eyes. “You hate drinking.”

“I learned to love it,” I said, downing the remaining contents of my glass, letting it burn.

She looked me up and down, making me feel self-conscious. “But apparently it doesn’t love you.”

“Thanks,” I snorted, acting like I didn’t care. But I did.

“You look terrible,” she said, ignoring me. “Are you even eating?”

“I’m consuming the daily recommended calorie intake,” I hedged.

“Ah,” she answered, examining my empty glass.

I shook my head and signaled to Vi for another.

Finley narrowed her eyes once more. “Can I get a basket of chicken tenders too, Vi?” she added.

“Sure thing,” she said, ringing up Finley’s food before grabbing the bottle of Jack and filling me to the top.

Finley examined my glass but didn’t say a word.

“What?” I asked, feeling defensive.

“Nothing,” she answered, looking at her hands.

“Judging me?”

“Not at all,” she said sincerely and looked me dead in the eye.

This look froze me, and the glass slipped from my fingers and back onto the bar top, spilling a little from the rim.

“I’ve done that very thing,” she said, gesturing toward my glass.

“Drink ’til you’re numb?”

“No,” she said, “succumb to a vice in order to forget.”

I leaned forward, stunned by this admission, and my eyes found hers. “What, Finley?”

She hesitated, started to open her mouth, but someone called her name and she turned around. It was an ex-classmate of ours, couldn’t remember her name, the one she’d been dancing with, and I found myself feeling anxious all of a sudden. I hadn’t felt anxious in a long time. Hadn’t felt anything, really, other than severe pain and shame, in a very long time. Huh.

“Finley, Chris is gonna give me a ride back home. You cool?” the girl asked, eyeing me. She knew. The whole town knew about my tumble down the rabbit hole.

“Yeah, Holly Raye. I’ll see you tomorrow,” she answered, her brows scrunched in confusion.

Finley was surprised by Holly Raye’s apparent worry which I found odd.

“Okay,” Holly Raye said, kissing Finley’s cheek.

Chris was waiting by the door for her, and we both watched them leave, afraid to speak, our earlier moment gone.

Vi walked up with Finley’s chicken tenders and set them in front of her. Her fingers found one but lifted up quickly with a tiny gasp.

“Hot,” she whispered, resting her fingers against the side of her water glass.

She let them cool for a few moments and we sat in awkward silence. I wasn’t sure what she was still doing there. I didn’t have any clue why she had even started to talk to me either. I mean, I knew in high school she’d had a crush on me, but I figured it was long gone. She used to stare at me a little doe eyed, and I had always done my best to be kind to her but not too kind. I’d considered her a friend but nothing more, even if I did take solace in my conversations with her. I’d never admitted that out loud to anyone then, though, not that I was ashamed or anything. It’s just, I was in love with Cricket.

Cricket.

The ache in my chest burned deep, a restless reminder of all I’d lost. And suddenly I felt guilty for finding Finley attractive even when I thought she was a stranger. Even after Cricket left me for Spencer.

“You should probably leave,” I told her.

She looked at me like I was crazy. “I’ll do whatever I want,” she said, sitting taller, pitching me that confident Finley attitude I remembered from high school.

“Whatever,” I said, then called out to Vi for another round, which she served up quickly.

Finley tore apart a few tenders then handed me half of one.

“Uh, no,” I said, downing my glass.

“Uh, yes,” she mocked, shoving the piece in my face.

“Stop,” I said, swiping it away.

“Eat, damn it,” she said.

I looked at her and the expression on her face told me she wouldn’t quit, so I roughly took it from her and took a large bite. She bit into her own piece, a smug look on her face. She practically hand fed me every piece in the damn basket, but I didn’t care. I knew what she was doing, but it wouldn’t work because the liquor resting in my belly was too substantial to be worked against.

“What have you done with your summer?” she asked me.

“This,” I said, gesturing to my glass.

“What the hell, Ethan?”

“What, are you my mother?” I asked, immediately regretting those choice of words. I closed my eyes.

Mom. My heart dropped into my throat. Must remedy that.

“Vi,” I said loudly to her at the other end of the bar. “One more.”

Vi walked the length of the bar and filled my glass again, much to Finley’s obvious horror.

“Vi, can I get some mozzarella sticks?” she asked.

“Of course, darlin’.”

Finley smiled at me.

“I’m not eating those,” I told her.

“Oh, you’ll eat them.”

“I won’t.”

“You will.”

“I sure as hell will not, Finley Dyer.”

She leaned closer and my head began to swim. Her signature scent of apples and wild daisies swarmed around me, making my heart race. It’d never bothered me before. It’s the liquor, I told myself.

“You will or I’m taking your ass home right now.”

“You can just kiss that ass, Fin.”

“That’s the Jack talking.”

“No, that’s me. I don’t want to play anymore. I want to be left alone now.”

“You see,” she said, settling her elbows on the bar top, “I think- No, I know you’re lying. Like I said before, you’re a terrible liar. I think you’ve lied so often about wanting to be left alone, though, that you’ve convinced your head it’s the truth, but you can’t convince the heart, Ethan. You know why? Because the heart can’t ever be lied to, and yours beats the loneliest I’ve ever heard.”

I didn’t answer her. Couldn’t answer her.

“What have you done this summer?” I asked, ignoring her spot-on observation.

She played along. “I’ve had a temp job here in Kalispell answering phones for Smith Travel, trying to earn cash for my trip.”

My brows furrowed. “What trip?”

“I’m heading over to Vietnam for a year.”

This shocked me. “What in the world would you go to Vietnam for?”

“Charity work,” she answered, making me laugh.

“Why?” I asked.

“Don’t be an asshole,” she replied.

“No, really, why?”

“I’ve wanted to do this for close to five years now.”

“How come I don’t ever remember you talking about this at school?”

“Ethan,” she said softly, “let’s not pretend we ever really talked in high school deeper than filler conversation.”

This wounded me a little, though I’m not sure why. “What the hell, Finley? You and I were friends.”

Now it was her turn to laugh. “We were most definitely not friends. I may know everything about you and you may know everything about me because we grew up together, but we were not friends. You had a constant bodyguard in Cricket.”

I sat up at the mention of her name. “Don’t ever say her name again,” I gritted.

She raised her hands in concession. “Fine.”

There was a pregnant pause as she let me calm myself down.

“I talked to you a lot in the classes we had,” I offered.

“We talked a lot about the upcoming football games or class assignments. Once or twice, we took the seventy-year-old route and discussed the weather.”

I fought my grin. “Okay, so it was always surface observation, but we were kids.”

“No, Ethan, that’s not what it was.”

“Well, you were in love with me,” I bravely spit. “I couldn’t take it further than just below the shoal.” Thank you, Mr. Daniels.

“Full of yourself, are we?” she asked. “Listen,” she continued, “I had a crush on you in high school. So what? Lots of girls did. But I was, am, a human being. You didn’t have to treat me like some leper. Trust me, Ethan, we all know who you belonged to,” she said.

She stood to leave, but I grabbed her arm. The heated warmth of her skin shot straight to my heart. We looked at one another, wide eyed, our chests panting. I shook my head to recompose myself. “I’m sorry,” I told her, encouraging her to sit back down. “I’m- I know you deserved better.”

She hesitated but sat back in her seat. I stared at her, a little too intently thanks to the Jack. She nodded once and we sat in a comfortable silence as I had five more shots.

The whiskey made my body heavy as hell, the weight of its honeyed venom deadened the ache inside me pleasantly.

I sighed and smiled to myself.

“What’s so funny?” she asked.

I looked up at her though it felt unusually burdensome and leaned toward her. “I’m going to get them back,” I admitted to her.

She narrowed her eyes. “Who, Ethan?”

“Them,” I said, bringing a tired finger to my lips. “Don’t tell anyone.”

I fell back into my chair. I brought my fingers to my empty glass and tilted it, balancing it on one finger. She was quiet for a moment.

“Ethan,” she began, whispering, “that’s not like you.”

I smiled. “I’m not who I used to be, Finley.”

“That’s a shame,” she said, “because you used to be wonderful.”

I narrowed my eyes at her. “Do you know what they did to me?”

“She left you for him,” she said matter-of-factly.

I let the glass tip over onto its side at her bluntness. “Exactly. After all I did for her. After all I was to her. She left me for him.”

“She wasn’t meant for you, Ethan.”

My skin burned with hatred at that statement. “No one is meant for anyone, Finley. You choose someone and then you make a commitment.”

She shook her head at me. “You have no idea what you’re talking about.“

“She chose me, convinced me that she was all in, and I was willing to die for her because of it. She convinced me she actually loved me. I thought she loved me.”

“She did love you. I believe she, you both really, would have been somewhat happy if Spencer had never shown up.”

“Exactly.”

“You’re not hearing me. You both would have been somewhat happy. Neither of you would have been utterly happy.”

This infuriated me. “I could have made her happy!” I yelled, earning a few glances from around the bar.

“Yes, you could have made her happy, but not as happy as Spencer does.”

My blood simmered in my veins. “You are cruel,” I bit.

She leaned forward. “I’m being honest with you. Someone has to since you’re not being honest with yourself. I saw them together, Ethan, and she never looked at you like that.”

“Stop,” I said, gritting my teeth. “Stop.”

“Ethan,” she said, resting her hand on mine. I yanked it from her. “Don’t you want the same thing for yourself? Don’t you want forever with someone who burns for you the way you burn for her? You deserve that just as much as she does.”

“Shut up,” I said, bringing my hands to my hair and fisting it at my ears. I didn’t want to hear it.

“Fine,” she said, sitting up. She looked around her and asked Vi for two cups of coffee.

I couldn’t breathe. Finley voiced everything I’d worked so hard to drown out, I’d attempted to numb. I hated her for ruining the struggle to suppress it. I just wanted to pretend. I wanted my hate, wanted it to live close to me. It was the only thing I felt could keep me alive. I couldn’t let her go. I didn’t want her to be loved by anyone but me. I didn’t want to be reminded that someone else really did love her better than I did, that someone else made her happier. Because I had watched them too. I saw what Finley saw, and my God did I hate Spencer Blackwell for it.

I wanted bitter.

I wanted sadness.

I wanted revenge.





Fisher Amelie resides in the South with her kick ace husband slash soul mate. She earned her first 'mama' patch in 2009. She also lives with her Weim, 'Jonah', and her Beta, 'Whale'. All these living creatures keep the belly of her life full, sometimes to the point of gluttony, but she doesn't mind all that much because life isn't worth living if it isn't entertaining, right?


Fisher is the author of The Seven Deadly Series, The Sleepless Series, and Leaving Series, and was a semi-finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award.






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