Wednesday, August 30, 2017

30 day Writing Challenge Flash Fiction Days 6, 7 and 8

Some more flash fiction for your enjoyment.
Remember flash fiction are short pieces of 100 words or less.

I don't just make these up at random. I am given a prompt and have to use certain elements in each piece. Which makes it harder. It's easy to create your own story, much more difficult when someone says:
"Give me 100 words and use a ball point pen, a monkey and a jar of lard!"


Cheer Up Oops

Seniors are taught magic right off. Starting the first day of school.
The easiest spell to master is Cheerup.
It’s a dribble of this and a bit of that with a pinch of wish.
He did a dribble of that, a bit of wish and a pinch of that.
When his lab partner handed him a love note he was in shock.
When she followed him around and begged to do his homework he was appalled.
It took all day for him to realize what had happened.
He was in for a rude awakening when the spell wore off.

Untimely Death

I admit, I was an annoyingly bad boss.
I accused employees of faking their sicknesses.
I took credit for their ideas.
I don’t think I deserved to die.
I didn’t warrant being strangled.
I really didn’t earn being killed on vacation.
I bet it was Susan, my young and hot secretary.
Maybe I shouldn’t have made her pack my luggage.
It was a shock, to be certain.
When that pink bikini shot out of my suitcase, wrapped itself around me and choked me.
A magical killing bathing suit? Who knew!?
I still don’t think I deserved it.

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

The leprechaun gave me the good luck charm, told me to attach it to anything.
I don’t think he meant for me to use it the way I did.
I knew my girlfriend was cheating, but I had no proof.
I put the charm on a pair of binoculars.
I went to her house.
The curtains were closed.
I peered through the binoculars.
I saw everything.
They were making out.
I couldn’t see him.
Stomping up the stairs to her door, angry knocking.
She answered, flushed, embarrassed.
I peered around her to confront him too.
It was that damn leprechaun.








Sunday, August 20, 2017

30 Day Writing Challenge- Grandma Gone


Challenge Day One


The sound of the spider crunching under my boot was both satisfying and gross. I had a rule, no spiders in the house. Outside I didn't care about them, but on the floor next to the front door? Nope, Nada, No. Spiders, freaky as fuck. Something dad and I had in common. Not that it mattered anymore.

"Mom I'm home!" I called out into the warmth that invaded the hall way. As per usual the lights were not on, so the only light came from the dust filled streams sneaking in through the blinds.

There was no answer, again, not unusual. Mom didn't talk much now that dad was gone for good.

I accidentally stabbed my toe on the old oak table next to the door. It hurt, but I shook it off and put my keys on the little silver dish that lived on the table.

I made my way further into the house. It looked the way it always did of late; green, grey, and gloomy.

As expected mom was in the kitchen, sitting at the counter. What was unexpected was the weird old woman who stood next to her.

"Ummm, Hi?"

"Oh, hey sweetie, I didn't hear you come in," Mom said. Her smile was strained and her red hair looked like she hadn't even bothered brushing it this morning.

"That's ok. I thought we should heat up that lasagna for dinner." I walked around them both on my way to the freezer. Apparently we were ignoring the woman? She was thin and short with stark white hair and bottle lens glasses that didn't hide her milky gaze.  Her skin looked almost see through and her blue veins made me queasy.

"Sounds like a plan, I totally forgot about dinner."

"Did you job search today?" It was our every day after school conversation.

"Oh...I meant to but the day got away from me. I did take some lovely pictures at the park," Mom said. The woman standing next to her snickered and her mouth curved into a some what sinister grin.

What the fuck?

"Did you make a new friend?" I asked. I couldn't take it anymore, the moth eaten smell coming from the old woman's clothes was killing my appetite.

"What? Oh," Mom said, eyes finally drifting back over to the stranger, "That is Frannie."

Well I guess that explained things then, not really.

"And Frannie is who?"

Not sure if mom ignored me or didn't hear me.

 Mom just hadn't been mom since she got the divorce papers. Dad couldn't even be bothered to bring them in person. Good to know 20 years of marriage meant nothing compared to the young blonde teenager he ran off with.

Frannie moved towards the doorway that led to the living room and the rest of the house. She stood there, in the shadows, watching us.

"Can you heat up the oven for me?" I asked, keeping an eye on the woman, her long fingers were stroking the dirty white paint of the door frame. She wouldn't meet my gaze, but the creepy little smile on her face stayed.

Frannie moved from the doorway and went into the living room. I really wanted to go after her, what the hell was she doing in our house and who was she?

"Mom, come on, what's up?" I finally asked as I watched mom mess with the oven temperature.

"Huh?" Mom turned to face me.

"That lady, who is she, what is she doing here?" As I said it, we both heard the very audible sound of the front door shutting. I ran from the kitchen to the living room window. Pushing back the heavy worn green curtain I tried to see where she'd gone. Frannie was no where to be seen and the window I stood at had a great view of the drive way, front yard and most of the street.

I know she left, I heard the door. Maybe she didn't leave? Our house wasn't that big. I went to all the rooms and checked to make sure she wasn't hiding anywhere.

Why she'd be hiding in a closet, who knew? I just wanted to be sure that all she'd left behind was her moldy scent.

I was checking the living room closet when mom came to find me.

"What are you doing?"  Mom placed a hand on my shoulder, her fingernails had chipped pink paint on them.

"Making sure that woman left. What's up mom, come on, tell me who the hell that was."

"Language." But her warning was simply the remembrance of another time, when she cared if I swore or not.

I put my hand on my hip and gave her my best enough-with-that-crap look.

"That was your father's mother, she came for his ring."

"You pawned your wedding ring."

"Not my ring, yours," She sighed and it was a long and haggard sound.

Anger and sick pooled in my belly, my ring? The one he gave me for my 16th birthday? The fact that the creepy freak was related to me wasn't nearly as important as her taking my ring.

"You let her steal my ring!" I screeched. I kept it in an old box on my dresser, the gold and emerald ring wasn't meant for school days.

"She didn't steal it. It belonged to her."

"Mom, it was a birthday present. I can't believe you let her take it and I can't believe you didn't tell me she was alive. I thought dad's mom was dead." Walking over I sat, heavily, on our brown couch, a bit of dust poofed into the air at my weight.

"She is."





Tuesday, July 18, 2017

ARC Review- Weeping Wells by Angel M.B. Chadwick




Synopsis from the author:
Eva loses someone close to her and that's just the beginning, she overcomes one obstacle after another that is throw her way, including one loss after another.
Synopsis from goodreads and amazon:
Fear is like a looking glass


I received a copy of this in return for an honest review

The first thing I want to say is that no matter how good the story or writing, two things I've learned are important that this novel does not have.
1) A decent cover. The picture isn't bad but it could use some time and attention
2) A decent synopsis, neither the one online or the one the author gave me give enough detail to really hook you into reading this book. Nor do they do this story justice.

Now with that said...
This is a fast paced and serious novel. It does need a bit more editing, but that did not detract from the characters or storytelling, both which were pretty good.

It was hard to keep up with the amount of characters and all the action going on. Plus this book is full of drama- which wasn’t for me but I can see the appeal.

Eva’s life is turned upside down when her mother accidentally stabs her twin sister and kills her. I couldn’t really get past the fact they cover it up and bury their little girl in a chest in the woods instead of going to the police, but grief and panic can screw up even the best of people.

One thing I really liked was how this book dealt with mental illness, you can tell the author either has firsthand knowledge of it or did her research.

This novel was depressing and long, written over a span of decades and the formatting is different than standard novels. However each chapter invoked a severe emotional response from me, which I believed was the author’s intention.

I don’t think this novel was for me, but I can’t deny some of the powerful imagery and intense story telling that went on the in 400+ pages.


ARC Review- Dark Designs by Stefanie Spangler






Twins Ivy and Violet Grant are opposites. Ivy, a hot-tempered redhead, couldn’t wait to get off the farm and see the world. Violet, a quiet brunette, was content to stay home and help their grandmother with the family business. The one thing they have in common is their magic.
Charlie Logan’s sinister obsession with Ivy Grant has ruled his life. When he discovers a book of dark magic during a burglary, he decides to return to Oak Hill and use his newfound power to gain control over Ivy.
Ivy and Violet, with help from their grandmother, need to practice their magic to overcome the evil seeping into their lives. A battle is coming, and Ivy’s life is not the only one at stake.



I was given a copy of this in return for an honest review

Twin, but polar opposites, Ivy and Violet don’t just have blood to tie them together, they have magic.
This book is about dark and light magic, a big time creeper is obsessed with passionate Ivy and the twins get help from their grandmother to keep him away.

This was an interesting concept and had unique ideas. Some of which I found interesting and others not so much.

The author writes as if all the characters are important and no one character is labeled the “main character.” Which is a positive and a negative.

The sinister nature of Charlie Logan (the bad guy) turned this short read from simple magical fantasy into somewhat of a thriller.

I did find Charlie’s stumble upon the evil magic book too much of a coincidence, but was able to get past it because I am a sucker for stories about sisters who are friends and loyal to each other. The author did a great job of writing the sister’s relationship.

I found that the magic use didn’t have as many rules as I like in my fantasy novels and think the author should spend a bit more time on the world building.

All in all I enjoyed this novel, it was easy to read and I got into the characters and storyline quite quick and would recommend it to others.




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Worst Dad's in Literature






Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and Bookish. This week is a Father's Day theme. I'm doing Worst Dad's in literature.



1) Jack Torrance

2) Lucius Malfoy


3) Humbert Humbert


4)King Lear


5)King Laius of Thebes


6) Old Nick


7) Marcus Eaton

8)Tywin Lannister

9) Mr. Wormwood

10) Abraham


Do you disagree? Who would YOU add to this list?



























Sunday, June 4, 2017

Short Story- A Girl on the Oregon Trail by Renee Lake


* I've always been in love with the Oregon Trail, a little bit too romanticized to be honest.  I also know many people died on it, that is was all consuming and awful. This is just a short little story to appease my fascination.  I did research, but it might not be 100% historically accurate.





The packing made it the most difficult. Mama said I could have one large trunk and she gave me a list of things I had to take with me.

She painted a purple L on the lid for me; Lydia.

Mary Anne got a yellow M.

George a green G.

Little Eva got a pink E.

The list said; three wool dresses. They were pretty, but not what I was used to. Two sets of under clothes, no more silk for me. 4 pairs of woolen socks, scratchy- but Mama said I will get used to it. One pair of shoes and one pair of boots. One overly large waterproof coat- heavy and ugly. One pair of white gloves and two bonnets.

After packing her list there wasn’t much room left for the things I wanted. I cried when Mama told me we’d be selling or giving away anything left over.

Mary Anne scolded me, that I was being a baby. I turned 15 last August, how could she call me that? She’s only two years older.

George was silent and solemn through the whole conversation, as he always is. Papa will depend on him more than us girls. He’s 13, practically a grown man.

Eva is four, I don’t know if she fully understands what’s happening.

I packed my silver comb and mirror, my favorite novel and a set of writing quills Grandma gave me for my birthday. I chose several colored silk ribbons, my pearl bracelet and a bottle of my favorite perfume. I could barely close my trunk, but I did.

Our relatives are in awe about the trip, most think we’re crazy, some brave, but none are coming with us.

We left Independence in early April, it was still cold. I’ve never been a spoiled child, I spent many afternoons helping Papa on the farm, but this was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.
Eva sat with Mama as she drove the six oxen, Mary Anne and I named them after places we passed on the trail.

George and Papa road horses far behind us with our cattle.

Mary Anne and I had to walk along side, with most of the other children. We gathered fire wood and flowers, we talked and sang, trying to keep ourselves busy. It only worked for a few days before we were tired and sick of the trip.

Why had Mama and Papa decided to move to Oregon? There was nothing out there, no real towns or shops, no restaurants or proper schools. How would we live, eat, work and play? We weren’t the only ones upset by the change, most other girls forced to come along had similar complaints.

Most of the boys, over the age of ten, helped their fathers, so the girls helped their mothers. We tended the younger children, sewed, helped cook meals and simply wandered the plains. We braided flowers into each other’s hair as our skin grew darker under the sky.

Mary Anne’s hair began to turn an odd shade of blonde with all the sunlight and Eva’s nose seemed to be forever red at the end.

By middle of May I was hot, tired, achy, almost never as clean as I would like. I wished I could curl up on the side of the road and stay there. Maybe the plains could be our home? I imagined how we would build a house and live, but I didn’t dare say anything to Mama.

Mama was much firmer and harsher as she drove the wagon. I watched her hands grow tough as she cleaned and cooked for us out in the wilderness.

Mary Anne said she’d heard awful things about what happened to women and children on the trail, that Mama must be stressed all the time. I vowed to try and make it easier on her.

We went two days with barely any water. Mary Anne, Eva and I sat in the back of the wagon, pressed against our supplies, almost cramped, hoping our spit wouldn’t dry out. I prayed for rain or a river. Mary Anne’s lip cracked, it began to bleed and Mama put castor oil on it, which made Mary Anne gag.

In June the heat was nothing compared to the bugs. George was constantly bitten all over and nothing Mama did could stop it. It was too hot in the wagon to ride so Eva, Mary Anne and I walked with the other children, we were able to stay farther off from the wagon train so the dust and bugs were lessened.

I wished it was the fashion that girls could have short hair. For mine was heavy, braided and long and was becoming tiresome to brush let alone keep clean.

The number of graves we passed began to multiple the farther we went. I was terrified and began to have nightmares that my whole family would be buried in those sad road side graves and I would be the only one left, what would I do then?

In July there was no fire wood and we had to cook our meals over dried buffalo dung. As if it wasn’t awful enough to eat stringy rabbit meat over smoldering feces, two people also died.

A man died as we crossed a river, taken by the currents and drowned. It was so horrible to hear the sounds of his kin wailing. Papa said he was lucky that there were two strong sons in his family to drive their wagon the rest of the way. When Mary Anne told Mama she thought his statement was callous she got a quick hard slap to the face.

I held Mary Anne as she cried behind the wagon that night. Mama has never hit any of us before. I don’t like the people we are turning into on this trip.

I miss ice cream and scones. I would kill for a hot bath, clothes that don’t scratch and a proper bed, but I won’t complain. I can’t.

A child was trampled by one of the wagons. I threw up when Mama told me. What else could possibly go wrong? Children die, I know that, but this child wouldn’t have if his parents hadn’t selfishly decided to take him from the comforts of his home. Are we next? I am so fearful, what if we all don’t make it?

I was so grateful that in August we reached Fort Hall. The first real civilization I’d seen in months. It was a bustling place full of people and things. Mama was relieved as well, we were running low on a few basic supplies like flour and potatoes.

We rested for a week, enjoying the small comfort of being near something almost like a town. I found out people lived at the fort and asked Mary Anne why we simply couldn’t just stay there.
There is a tightness around her eyes of late, and her face has thinned out. She just looked at me with disdain and walked away. I didn’t think my question was stupid, but maybe it was. Has she grown up and I have not?

Mary Anne hasn’t been walking with me as much anymore. She hangs back with some girls her own age near where the men are. Several nights these past few weeks she’s been out walking with a young man, I think his name is Richard. His parents are farmers several wagons a head of ours. He is their only son.

My birthday came after we left Fort Hall, my mother made a skillet cake for me, but there were no presents. What would I ask for that they could actually give me? What would there be room for?
It began to get cold in the evenings around the middle of September, but Papa said it’s only a few more months until we reach home. Home…I don’t know what that word means anymore. How can a place we have no house and that I’ve never seen be home?

I really thought Papa’s dreams of Oregon would have died a little these past few months, but it hasn’t. If anything he’s more excited. He’s older too, both he and Mama seemed to have aged a decade in less than six months.

George broke his ankle. He’s no good to anyone right now, just rides along with Mama, silent and brooding. I wonder how he likes it now that the tables are turned, now that he has nothing to do and is bored.

I caught Mary Anne and Richard kissing. I promised not to tell anyone, but I’m hurt and annoyed. Doesn’t she know she’s not allowed to grow up without me just yet? She can’t go and get married and have children until we’ve reached Oregon and established ourselves. She’s my sister and my best friend.

Sure I made other friends, how could I not. There’s Ruth who likes to chew the ends of grass blades and Edna who constantly quotes poetry. Martha who cries because her older brother chose to stay behind and Caroline who really wants to see an Indian.

All great girls, but nothing like my Mary Anne. In my mind I think of Richard like a thief who stole her away in the night.

Eva died and we buried her in her chest, empty of all her things. She wasn’t the only one, several children contracted Cholera in October, right after Fort Boise. It seemed as if one day she was fine and the next she was dead. I tore my nails covering her grave with the largest rocks I could find. I didn’t want to leave her there, in the ground, by herself.

I don’t understand death and I don’t understand my parents or this trail. How can people choose to do this? It isn’t fun and it isn’t necessary! Eva was a sweet child, funny, messy and loud. Always with a smile and a laugh. I held her right after she was born. Mary Anne and I swore a pact to protect our baby sister and we’ve failed.

Mary Anne hasn’t spoken to me in days. She does her chores in silent grief. Mama sobs as she guides the oxen, it is almost like a literal storm cloud hangs over Papa and George’s heads. I’m not sure what to do, can I feel anything aside anger and sadness?

Papa did not want to waste time at the Whitman Mission and decided we would forge ahead to The Dalles. It’s November and again he says we are almost home. But can we ever really be home when our family is no longer complete?

Our wagon train started with almost 30 wagons and over 120 people. We are down to 25 wagons and 15 people have died. Some families who lost members combined to make the travel easier, or maybe to appease loneliness. I heard Mama talking about how she wouldn’t know what to do if Papa died, he answered by telling her to marry one of the men whose wives either passed on or refused to come.
A wife could refuse to come? I wondered then, did my mother actually want to make this journey, or did she do it simply because she loved my father?

I have never been so hungry in my life. Papa says it will get better once we get home, there’s that word again, but I don’t believe him. Unless the grass on Oregon is made of bread and the rivers run with milk, I think I’ll be just as hungry.

We are all sleeping in a tent together now, with as many furs and blankets as possible and the nights are painfully cold. Though the terrain is becoming prettier and prettier with each day. I’ve seen so many new things on this trip and written them all down. I will take away at least something positive from this.

It has been raining for days, you can’t cook anything when everything is wet. My teeth will wear away from all the jerky and hard bread.

Richard came and asked Papa for his permission to marry our Mary Anne. Mama wasn’t totally happy, but Papa was excited at the prospect of a son in law. They are to be married once we get to Oregon. His family is claiming land near us so that Mary Anne won’t be far from Mama and me.
I congratulated her, but I am angry and jealous. I might be a little happy too. But only just.

We reached Oregon City just before December, at least there wasn’t snow. Papa claimed a beautiful and green piece of land that a small river intersects. I am relieved, but still… it doesn’t feel much different than before. We’ll still be living out of the wagon and tents until a house can be built, but I guess I can get used to thinking of this place as home.

Mama says Mary Anne will be wed as soon as Richard has a home of his own on his parent’s property and that next year George I will be able to attend a real school with other children. We left most of Eva’s things on the side of the trail, all but some sentimental items like her favorite doll. I’ll put it in the window of my room so no one can forget her.

The land is really appealing, so much green and so many things growing. Our cattle seem to love it as well, they have good food and fresh water. I am dreaming off milk and pound cake and when I can heat enough water for a bath.

All that can wait, however. Right now I just want to take a big breath and thank God I am alive and….home.



Copy Right Renee Lake 2017- All Rights Reserved.








Tuesday, May 16, 2017

TOP TEN TUESDAY- Mother's Day- Worst Moms




Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly Meme hosted by the Broke and Bookish. This week is a Mother's Day freebie and while I think most people will go positive I am choosing to do a list of worst moms in literature. 
This is not because of any bitterness, I love my mom :) I just thought it might be fun.



1) Queen Gertrude- Hamlet

2) Charlotte Haze- Lolita

3 and 4) Corinne Dollanganger and Olivia Foxworth- Flowers in the Attic


5) Medea- Medea

6)Margaret White- Carrie

7) Mrs. Wormwood- Matilda

8) Mrs. Bennet- Pride and Prejudice


9) Mrs. Lisbon- The Virgin Suicides

10) The Other Mother- Coraline


Who do YOU think should make this list?









Friday, May 5, 2017

Roses of May by Dot Hutchison


I received a copy of this from Net galley and the publisher in return for an honest review





Four months after the explosion at the Garden, a place where young women known as the Butterflies were kept captive, FBI agents Brandon Eddison, Victor Hanoverian, and Mercedes Ramirez are still entrenched in the aftermath, helping survivors in the process of adjusting to life on the outside. With winter coming to an end, the Butterflies have longer, warmer days of healing ahead. But for the agents, the impending thaw means one gruesome thing: a chilling guarantee that somewhere in the country, another young woman will turn up dead in a church with her throat slit and her body surrounded by flowers.

Priya Sravasti’s sister fell victim to the killer years ago. Now she and her mother move every few months, hoping for a new beginning. But when she ends up in the madman’s crosshairs, the hunt takes on new urgency. Only with Priya’s help can the killer be found—but will her desperate hope for closure compel her to put her very life on the line?


I fell in love with Butterfly Garden. I got a ARC copy and missed my trax stop while reading it. I bought it in paperback and have re read it several times, so I had pretty high hopes for Roses of May. 

I was not disappointed! I bought the physical copy of this novel and can't wait to re read it. I loved finding out what happened to the Butterflies especially Inara and Bliss. The author didn't try to give them happily ever afters and I enjoyed how real it felt.You could tell when it came to the victims and survivors mentality the author did her research.

The story of Priya and her family was very intriguing. This new serial killer murders girls in churches during spring and leaves different flowers on them. He is fascinated with Priya after killing her sister several years earlier. Priya is not a white character either, she's Indian (family is Hindi though not Muslim) and she is a hard ass. She struggles with an eating disorder- binge eating until she pukes- to help cope with her emotions and the stress. I could relate to her because I struggle with a very similar anxiety and stress induced disorder.

Her mother was wonderful and scary and the vets Priya plays chess with are quite a handful of lovable characters.

I was absolutely captivated by the characters, the plot and the writing, I didn't want to put it down and cannot wait for the third installment.

It was also nice to see inside the Quantico 3, as Priya calls them. In the first novel we only see them in the interrogation room with Maya/Inara and this gave a more inside look at the FBI agents.

So much emotion swarmed me while reading this book, the author does a great job of making her disgusting and horrible serial killers seem sympathetic and understandable, like you almost don't want them to get caught...then stop yourself, shudder and say, "yuck, no he needs to die." Kind of the same feeling I got when reading Lolita.

I can't criticize much in this book, there are a few issues, like I guessed the killer pretty early on, but any problem I had didn't distract from my enjoyment.

If you like serial killers- the weirder and more fucked up the better- pick this up and support this author.

Bright Blessings.





Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dark Inheritance by Renee Lake Giveaway starts tomorrow! Amazon Gift Card!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Want to know about the novel?

“He said murder-suicide.”
When Rosaline Lysgaard hears those words over the phone she doesn’t realize that she is about to inherit much more than her father’s estate and money. For the first time since she was 13 she must return home to Skummel Manor, with the hope of figuring out what really happened to her father.
Together with her, emotionally disturbed, twin brother Wren, she discovers a dark and disturbing family history. However, something besides secrets lurks in the corners of her childhood home; something sinister that wants what only Rosaline and Wren have to give; their Lysgaard blood line.
Rosaline must dig through her family’s long and sordid past to stop a centuries old curse from taking more lives. She must also sort through and deal with her own past; was the man in the shadows real, or a figment of her childhood imagination? Rosaline knows she doesn’t have a lot of time before the insanity that lingers in her DNA causes her and Wren to follow in their father’s footsteps.






Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday :Ten Of The Most Unique Books I've Read





Top Ten Tuesday is a fun Meme hosted by the Broke and Bookish. This week we are showcasing the ten of the most unique books we've ever read.

These are all books I enjoyed at a 5 to 3.5 star level.

Optimus Yarnspinner, a young writer, inherits from his beloved godfather an unpublished short story by an unknown author. His search for the author's identity takes him to Bookholm--the so-called City of Dreaming Books. On entering its streets, our hero feels as if he has opened the door of a gigantic second-hand bookshop. His nostrils are assailed by clouds of book dust, the stimulating scent of ancient leather, and the tang of printer's ink.

Soon, though, Yarnspinner falls into the clutches of the city's evil genius, Pfistomel Smyke, who treacherously maroons him in the labyrinthine catacombs underneath the city, where reading books can be genuinely dangerous


Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she's been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780's to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.
Or so she thought

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.
(I personally have re read this book several times and though I got an ARC kindle version I bought a paperback. My review)

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair.


17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted.

Inspired by a pair of real caged graves in present-day Catawissa, this historical YA novel weaves mystery, romance, and action into a suspenseful drama with human greed and passion at its core.

With parents too busy to pay her attention, an older brother and sister who would rather spend their time with friends, and peers who oscillate between picking on her and simply ignoring her, it's no wonder that Fain spends most of her time in a world of her own making. During the day, Fain takes solace in crafting her own fantastical adventures in writing, but in the darkness of night, these adventures come to life as Fain lives and breathes alongside a legion of imaginary creatures. Whether floating through space or under the sea, climbing mountains or traipsing through forests, Fain becomes queen beyond - and in spite of - the walls of her bedroom.
Told in breathless and visual verse.

Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You're in red-hot trouble.
When humorist Sarah Schmelling transformed Hamlet into a Facebook news feed, it launched the next big humor trend-Facebook lit. This hilarious book is the first to bring more than fifty authors and stories from classic literature back to life and online. Schmelling uses the conventions of social networking-profile pages, status updates, news feeds, and applications-to retell everything from The Odyssey to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to Lolita
The most excitement teacher Shannon Parker expected on her summer vacation was a little shopping. But then her latest purchase--a vase with the Celtic goddess Epona on it--somehow switches her into the world of Partholon, where she's treated like a goddess. A very temperamental goddess... It seems that Shannon has stepped into another's role as the Goddess Incarnate of Epona. And while it has some very appealing moments--what woman doesn't like a little pampering now and then?--it also comes with a ritual marriage to a centaur and the threat of war against the evil Fomorians. Oh, and everyone disliking her because they think she's her double.

Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent -- and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild