Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Remembrance

Check Out for free clipart!

To all of those who have given their lives
due to this unfortunate reality
known as "war",
a most profound and respectful thank you...

You will always be in our hearts, minds, and spirits.

May you rest in the eternal peace of God.

Musing Mondays #1

This is a weekly book meme hosted by Miz B at
Each week, she poses a thought-provoking question
related to books and reading preferences.

To join in, simply visit her blog, grab her logo,
and add your blog link in the comments section.

Today marks my very first time with this meme!

Today's question is:

Describe the last time you were stumped for something to read, and you took measures to remedy that — either by going to the bookstore, the library, or shopping elsewhere. What book did you choose? Did it get you out of your slump?

This has happened to me on several occasions, but, since I practically live in a library, it's not too hard for me to find something to read right away!  There have been times, though, when I have felt either very anxious, or a bit depressed, and have not had a book handy.  Books always give me some sense of relief, whatever I might be feeling at the moment.

I recall one such occasion.  I had to be at the airport one afternoon, because my first husband was leaving for a trip abroad, to see some of his relatives.  I was feeling distraught because I couldn't go with him.   I had not taken a book with me, for some reason.  As we waited -- the plane had been delayed -- I started getting restless.  This is what invariably happens to me when I have to be somewhere with time on my hands.  I have to be reading something on such occasions!  Adding to the problem was the fact that I didn't even want to be at the airport that day.  I didn't want to say goodbye to him.  (I am now happily remarried; life is full of ironies!)

I figured that buying a book would ease my tension.  Besides, I wanted to remember the date.  Yes, I is blind.   I excused myself -- a couple of my husband's relatives were with us -- and hurried into the nearest store, which had a large newsstand section.  I began feverishly looking through the paperbacks and....I found my book!

Unfortunately, I can't remember either the title or the author, and only recall some vague things about the plot.  (I suspect this is because the book is connected to this event with my ex.)  The story had something to do with a young American woman starting her first job in the tough working world of New York City.  The time is the late twenties, if I remember correctly.  She is very naive.  I believe she has a bad romance.  Parallel to this is the story of a young man named Joseph, who is Jewish.  He elopes with a girl named Rachel, whose family was against their marriage.  They end up in a desert setting somewhere in Africa, with a group of some sort, led by a ruthless, tyrannical man.  By this time, Joseph and Rachel have had two children -- a boy and a girl.  Well, the leader of the group wants to have their son for himself, to raise as a warrior for his group.  So he poisons Joseph's wife and daughter, making it look as if they had succumbed to an unknown disease.  At the same time, he also makes it look like Joseph's son has died right along with his sister and mother.  Joseph, heartbroken, leaves the area, never knowing that another man has now taken his place as the boy's father.
Somehow Joseph ends up in Paris, where he meets the young American girl.  They fall in love and eventually marry.  However, the specter of the Nazis now arises, and, again if I remember correctly, she helps him to hide when the Nazis occupy Paris.
This is obviously a work of literary fiction. As you can tell from my synopsis, the mood is very melancholy throughout, although I'm pretty sure there was a happy ending -- Joseph was not captured by the Nazis, and stayed happily married to the young American girl.
I wish I could remember the title and author of this book, because it was very compelling reading!  I do recall not being able to stop reading it until I finished.   I can see the cover pretty clearly in my mind -- except for the title and author's name!

Did the book take me out of my "slump"?  Well, in regards to reading, yes.  In regards to my emotional state, not really.  It made me even more depressed than I already was.  Paradoxically, I felt better at the same time.  I got lost in the troubles of these fictional characters, and that took my mind off the fact that I wouldn't be seeing my husband for the next two weeks.  However, I went back to feeling down when I finished the book...

This would make a great "Musing Mondays" theme, by the way: "Have you ever read a book with a fascinating plot, but couldn't recall either the title or author's name, years later?  Describe the plot as best as you can.  Perhaps another blogger can identify the book."  Well, Miz B, here's a suggestion for your book meme!  (Unless, of course, you've already done this type of thing!)

So now I am putting forth the question to anyone who happens to read this.  If any of you know exactly which book I'm referring to, please let me know!  I wouldn't mind reading it again, in spite of its unhappy associations...  

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Review: Lemniscate (fifth novel in 'The Descent of the Angels Reading Challenge')

So this is now my fifth book in this reading challenge,
which is hosted by Momo at Books Over Boys!
Since I didn't hear about this until February,
I have read two books for this month,
instead of one, so as to have at least 
12 books read for the entire year.
Without further ado, I hereby present my review.

Author: Jennifer Murgia
Publisher: Lands Atlantic Publishing, 2011
Trade Paperback, 254 pages
Reading Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

The sequel to Angel Star starts off with an earthbound Garreth,  who continues to stay with Teagan in her bedroom at night, again, just as Edward Cullen does in The Twilight Saga.  I was prepared to "grin and bear it", and just forge ahead, hoping that this book would turn out to be better than its predecessor.  My hopes were dashed, however, when, quite suddenly, Garreth began avoiding Teagan.  So once more I was reminded of The Twilight Saga!  Although the reason for the separation of these romantic leads was different from that given in New Moon (the second book in the Saga, for those who might not have read it), the similarity was just too great to pass unnoticed.  Furthermore, the reason Garreth was avoiding Teagan was totally ridiculous and unbelievable.  It simply did not work.  Teagan's reaction to this separation was not as dramatic as Bella's, but again, the parallel was there.  And, of course, the third member of the love triangle -- a totally improbable one -- showed up, right on cue: Hadrian, the dark angel Garreth and Teagan battled against in the previous novel.

It seems that Hadrian is, well, not quite as evil as he was in Angel Star.  This, again, is totally unbelievable.  Teagan begins to hope that there is some good in him, after all.  I must repeat that this is simply implausible, given all the evil deeds perpetrated by Hadrian in the first book.  So now Teagan finds herself feeling attracted to him!  I have to be honest -- I find this totally disgusting.

The focus is definitely off Hadrian as the villain in this book.  Instead, it zeroes in on his twin brother -- Lucifer.  How very convenient...but again, totally ridiculous and not believable at all.  First of all, let's look at what Hadrian is.  In these books, he is called "a dark angel".  And what, pray tell, is a dark angel, if not a demon?  A demon is the very epitome of evil.  Demons are beyond redemption.  They are denizens of Hell.  Nevertheless, Teagan's actions in the first book supposedly split Hadrian's dark and light sides, and now his 'light' side predominates!  Now he's been turned into 'a good guy'! 

This brings me to the underlying themes of the book -- the blurring of good and evil, and the idea that both are necessary in this world, in order to 'balance' each other!  This is a New Age idea.  Not that I'm opposed to all New Age ideas.  This one, however, is especially repugnant to me.  Everyone in this world is flawed.  That is indeed true.  However, to go on from that to assert that both light and dark must be 'in balance' is simply going too far.  Good and evil are irreconcilable opposites.  They cannot be 'balanced'!

Obviously, I would have to go into a theological analysis here, which is beyond the scope of a book review.  I did find it necessary, however, to state my strong moral objection to this theme.  It's disturbing that it's being presented to teens as perfectly all right.

Another major problem I found with the book was the rationale for Brynn's bullying behavior toward Teagan, which began in the first book.  Teagan solves this problem, though, because, you see, she is very special.  She is the 'light bearer' mentioned in some prophecy.  She is therefore able to defeat Lucifer himself, mostly on her own, too.

At the risk of going off on a tangent, I must mention that the Catholic Church has a history of succesful exorcisms.  Yes, demons are real.  They cannot be reformed, nor can they be defeated by a 'chosen' human.  They can only be defeated by the power of God, working through someone -- an exorcist -- especially trained for such a dangerous undertaking.  Besides, isn't Teagan's boyfriend an angel of light?  Why isn't he the one who defeats Lucifer?  This reminds me of Halo.  In that novel, too, an angel was portrayed as weaker than a human being.  What's going on here?  Aren't these supernatural beings?  Why, then, are humans depicted as more powerful, in both of these books?

Also objectionable was the attitude of Teagan's mother toward Brynn.  Instead of being emotionally supportive to her own daughter, and attempting to help her deal with Brynn's inexcusable behavior, she keeps insisting that Teagan and Brynn get along, because she's dating Brynn's stepfather!  And Teagan makes no effort to let her mother know just how much Brynn's bullying hurts her.

The 'happily-ever-after' ending is just too artificial, too neatly wrapped up.  And, of course, totally unrealistic.

This brings up the question: should fantasy novels be 'realistic' in order to be believable?  Well, the characters of a fantasy novel should, indeed, adhere to the realities of human nature.  Fantastical events can happen, but a character's actions have to be consistent with what we know of human behavior.  They also have to be consistent with a character's own personality, as described by the author.  If they're not, then they're just not believable, and thus, the writer is risking a reader's being continually thrown out of the carefully constructed fictional world.

Needless to say, I found this book even more disappointing than the first one.  Should there be a third novel, I would have to say that I'm simply not interested in the leas! 


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Favorite Author: Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte
(April 21, 1816 - March 31, 1855)

I must have been around 17 or 18 when I first read my all-time favorite classic, Jane EyreI was immediately struck by the novel's masterful prose, its lyrical beauty, its enthralling passion. So, of course, I fell head over heels for Edward Rochester, in spite of his boorish, brooding personality.  Or perhaps because of it. 

I was much like Jane then -- rather shy, with my own private little world, into which I would escape when I felt threatened by the outside world.  Like her, I had a capacity for fierce passion, and not just the romantic kind.  However, I did not display it openly.  Again like Jane, I was a very private person.  Needless to say, I was not in any of the popular school cliques.

Bronte's lushly passionate novel consumed me for a very long time, and, indeed, has had a permanent influence on my life.  I wanted to be Jane Eyre.  Indeed, I felt that I really was.  I hated living in Miami, back then.  I wanted to fly away to the tempestuous English moors, to a mysterious mansion whose brooding owner would mesmerize me with his piercing eyes....

I read this book.  I lived this book. It became the food of my soul.  Some of my readers might think I'm overdoing my praise for this novel, but any who are unabashed romantics, like me, will smile as they read this, and understand.  Bronte has truly captured the essence of a woman's mind and heart. 

Born in Thornton, Yorkshire, England, she was the third of six children, whose father, Patrick Bronte, was an Irish Anglican clergyman.  In 1820, the family moved to the nearby town of Haworth, where Charlotte's mother, Maria Bronte (nee Branwell), died, in 1821. 

Two of Bronte's sisters died while attending the Clergy Daughters' School in Lancashire.  The infamous "Lowood" mentioned in Jane Eyre was patterned after this real school, which had deplorable living conditions for the students.

The remaining Bronte children -- Branwell, Emily, Anne, and Charlotte -- filled their time with writings related to their imaginary kingdoms, Angria and Gondal.  Later on, Emily and Anne would become authors in their own right. 

This is one of my several copies of the novel.
It was published by HarperTeen
on Feb. 1, 2011, 
and has the so-called "Twilight-inspired" cover.
Whatever or whoever was the inspiration for this cover, 
I think it's absolutely beautiful.
Click HERE for more information about this edition.

Bronte wrote several novels, but Jane Eyre is her undisputed masterpiece.  Published in 1847 under the pseudonym of Currer Bell, the novel was initially a bestseller.  Speculation arose as to whether the author was a man or a woman.  When it became known that Bronte was a female, the reviews then took a negative turn.  The novel was in some quarters criticized for its 'coarseness'.  A contemporary critic, Eliza Rigby, writing in Quarterly Review, penned the following ridiculous assertion: "Jane Eyre is throughout the personification of the unregenerate and undisciplined spirit..."

Time has vindicated Charlotte Bronte, for this novel is now a standard in any English Literature course.  Although her sister Emily's novel, Wuthering Heights, is considered superior by many critics, I totally disagree.  I much prefer Charlotte's novel, which to me is a courageous exposition of a woman's spiritual resilience.

Charlotte Bronte's other works include Shirley: A Tale (1849), Villete (1853), and The Professor: A Tale (1857).  A novella, The Green Dwarf: A Tale of the Perfect Tense, was published in 1833.  She also published poetry together with her sisters Emily and Anne in Poems by Currer, Acton and Ellis Bell (1846). 

For a bibliography of Charlotte Bronte's works, as well as a list of sites, click HERE.

Here are some additional Bronte websites:

The Victorian Web: Charlotte Bronte

The Bronte Parsonage Museum and Bronte Society

The Bronte Family

The Brussels Bronte Group

Friday, May 27, 2011

Follow My Book Blog Friday Hop #1

Well, I have finally decided to go for it!
Yes, this is my very first "Follow Friday Hop"!
This weekly feature is hosted by
and many blogs participate!

Here are the rules:

1.  You must follow Parjunkee's View, and any other blog you want to follow, from the list of linked blogs.

2.  You also need to follow each week's featured blogger.  This week's blogger is Book Bliss!!

3.  Put your blog name and URL in the Linky widget.

4.  Grab the "Follow My Book Blog Friday" button and place it in your Follow Friday posts.

5.  Follow as many blogs as you want, or just follow a few.  Always say "hi" when you start following a blog.

6.  It's nice to follow back when someone lets you know they're following your own blog.  Spread the love and the follows!!

7.  If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, please comment on Parajunkee's blog, so they can go check out your blog!

8.  You also need to answer each week's blog hop question.

This week's question:

How many books do you read in a week? 

And in what format do you read them, or listen to them?

This question makes me feel a bit sad... I work two jobs, so I don't have as much time for reading as I wish I had.  Therefore, I usually read one, perhaps two, books a week.  I'm one of those weird readers who pronounces each word in their mind as they read, so that also slows me down!  I've tried to break this habit, which has been with me for as long as I can remember, but haven't had much success.  It's like I can't get into the story if I don't sound the words out in my mind.  I wonder if this happens to other people.  However, I don't like the idea of trying to zip through books as fast as I possibly can.  I want to truly enjoy the story.  This involves savoring the descriptive passages, so that I can picture them vividly.  It also entails feeling the emotions of the characters, thinking their thoughts.  So I do think that reading more slowly helps one to accomplish these things.  Even when I can't put a book down because it's an enthralling read, I still can't read any faster than I do.  Of course, speed reading courses are completely out for me!  

As for reading formats, I totally prefer print versions.  I must hold a real book in my hands as I read.  I totally abhor ebooks!  Part of the pleasure of reading, for me, is having a physical book to read from.  I prefer turning pages to scrolling, no matter how wonderful the technology of ereaders is nowadays!  I can't get into a book I'm reading on a screen.  I can and do read blog posts, but reading an entire book on a screen, no matter how glare-free, is another matter entirely!  So, of course, I do not review ebooks, either.

I have no such problem with audio books!  In fact, I love them!  I do have to say, though, that I will usually listen to an audio book after I have already read the print version.   This is what I did with The Twilight Saga.  So, in any case, hard copies will always be my first reading preference.  The great thing about audio books is that we modern readers can in this way connect with the age-old tradition of storytelling.  The music and flow of language, the various voice intonations -- these are things that add to the plot.  Descriptions become much more vivid, too, when read aloud.  These are the reasons I will listen to a beloved book after I have read the hard copy.  It heightens and prolongs my aesthetic pleasure in the original work.  It's almost like savoring a fine wine!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday #3: Torrent, by Lisa Bergren

This is a weekly book meme, hosted 
by Jill @ Breaking the Spine,
which features future releases that we book bloggers
are eagerly anticipating!

The book I have picked this week
is the last one in The River of Time trilogy,
by Lisa T. Bergren.
This is an exciting YA series that combines
time travel, adventure, and romance!
Talk about a great combination of ingredients!

In the first volume,
the Betarrini sisters unexpectedly travel back
to 14th-century Italy,
encountering some interesting adventures, as well as
two great-looking Italian noblemen.
Then they are also hailed as great warriors in
the continuing battle between the cities of
Siena and Florence.
In the second volume,
they convince their mother, an eminent archaeologist,
to go back with them,
and more adventures ensue!

The trilogy comes to an end with this third volume.
(I wish it would go on forever....)

Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook
Expected Release Date
Sept. 1, 2011
Genre: YA Fantasy, Christian Fiction


In this last book of the series, the Betarrini sisters
have learned to travel the river of time,
rescuing their father from a tragic death.
They return to medieval Italy, which is now 
under the threat of
The Black Plague, together with their
newly-reunited parents.
They are also still immersed in the struggle 
between the two rival cities,
and must make their final choices regarding Marcello and Luca!

If you are not yet familiar with 
this wonderful series,
I urge you to pick up the very 
first book, Waterfall, as soon as you can!
And remember...the second book,  
will be out next week!!!

For more information on this book, 
click HERE!

What book are you waiting on?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

GREAT Giveaway at LC's Adventures in Libraryland!!

I have just discovered another FABULOUS giveaway,
this time hosted by Lea at
to celebrate her blog's  having reached 200 followers!!

All of the featured books are the hottest YA titles
currently being reviewed and blogged about!
Besides, they all have terrific covers!!

Here are the titles:

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach

So what are you guys waiitng for?
Head on over to LC's to enter!!
Lea will have TWO winners, not just one.
And....if she reaches 300 followers before the end of the giveaway,
which is June 1st, 2011,
she will have a THIRD winner!
Now that's not only fantastic, but also very generous of her!

For the giveaway post itself, which details all the entry rules,
and includes links to reviews of the books
being given away, click HERE.

For the entry form, click HERE.

Good luck to you all,
and thanks to Lea!!!!

"Purple Shadows" Contest: Katie McCurdy


Several days ago, I came across a very original blog contest,
in which participants were supposed to write
a romantic suspense scene
that had to incorporate the phrase "purple shadows".
Titled "The Purple Shadows Romantic Suspense Writing Contest", 
it was held from April 12th to May 5th of this year,
and was hosted by Peg, at Go Ahead and Wear the Purple,
a blog dedicated to Christian fiction,
with wonderful reviews, guest blogs, and fab contests!

I'd like to hightlight one of the entries, written by Katie McCurdy,
whose own blog, Legacy of a Writer,
is also dedicated to Christian fiction, offering great reviews,
author interviews, and fantastic giveaways!
While she did not win the contest, I thought her story was excellent,
so I'm posting it here!

Sara had never known utter fear until that moment. Now it consumed her, wedging itself into every crevice of her body. Her breath came in short, erratic gasps. A glance downward showed her fists twitching despite her efforts to remain calm. Her knees gave way and she slid downward against the packing crates.

Get a grip, Sara!

But how? The enormity of the situation overwhelmed her. How could this happen? Everything she heard…it just couldn’t be true. No. It had to be a misunderstanding. Her father wouldn’t be involved in something like this. He couldn’t be.

A forgotten scene flashed. Dad on the phone in the garden. She’d only been able to hear wisps of the conversation, but she remembered two words very clearly—purple shadows. She’d always assumed he had been talking about the beautiful hybrid flower they’d created together. Now she knew different.
She bit down on her lip to muffle a groan. Why did she begin to have doubts concerning her father’s business? What had possessed her to sneak into this warehouse after him? Oh, that’s right—Seth. Her detective-wannabe friend. If only she had ignored his questions…

But, no. She couldn’t be that selfish. That naïve.

People were dying.

Sara forced her fist to relax and stared at the small flash drive in her palm. She couldn’t believe they’d left it behind in the computer. It had been too easy to sneak into the room and grab it, undetected. Now she had to act; had to show it to somebody. But who?


This was all his fault, anyway. He would know what to do. Sara blinked back hard tears as she rose. Her knees wobbled.

Okay. Just sneak out the way you came in and then get the heck out of here. Everything is going to be fine. It has to be.

A door banged open somewhere. Sara nearly jumped out of her skin. She pressed a hand tightly over her mouth to withhold a scream as she strained to hear. Footsteps!

Oh man, oh man. They’re coming this way!

She whirled around and saw a small space between crates. She bolted for it. Turning sideways, she shimmied through until she reached the other side, where more boxes and crates formed a long, narrow hallway that disappeared in both directions. Sara took a step to the right, praying it would lead her out.

“Sara. We know you’re in here.”

The blood drained from her face as her father’s voice echoed off the walls of the warehouse.

No. No. No! This is really, really bad!

She released a breath she didn’t realized she’d been holding. She was afraid to breath. Afraid to move. Afraid to do anything!

God, I need to get outta here! One of your guardian angels would sure be handy right now!

Sara felt body heat behind her a split second before a rough arm wrapped around her, pinning her arms to her side. A hand covered her mouth and kept back the scream of surprise and fear from escaping her throat. She was pushed against a large crate without a sound, her legs spread and held in place by her captors own thick legs. She squirmed in the hold, but barely moved. Just great! One of Dad’s creepy hulks found me.

Thinking it best to cooperate, she relaxed her tensed muscles. The man dipped his face into the curve of her neck and murmured, “Don’t say anything. Stay still.”

Her hammering heart escaladed. It was Seth! Good thing he had a hand over her mouth or she would’ve given him a tongue-lashing for freaking her out.

The footsteps drew closer and then stopped abruptly on the other side of the crate. “Sara, you can’t hide forever.” She squeezed her eyes shut, swallowing the bile that rose in her throat. What had happened to the fun-loving father who raised her? Heavy breathing sounded only a few feet from their hiding spot. Her heart rate climbed.

Oh Lord, get me outta here or I’ll go down in history as the first seventeen-year-old to die of a massive heart attack!

As if on cue, the footsteps continued on down the isle of shipping crates. Sara sagged in Seth’s arms. Slowly, cautiously, he easy away from the crates and removed his hand, allowing fresh air to travel freely to her lungs.
Inhaling a shaky breath she turned in his grasp. “Seth Mavvis!” It took every ounce of her resolve not to scream his name at the top of her lungs. “You scared the crap outta me. What are you doing here?”

“Keep your voice down! You want them to find us?” His voice was barely above a whisper, his mouth hovering mere inches from her ear. “I followed you.”

Sara didn’t try to squelch the burning glare she gave him.

He quirked an eyebrow and grinned. “What? You think I would tell you to go investigate if your father really is the top hit-man in the city by yourself? I’ve been behind you the whole time.”

Sara felt a blush creep up her neck when she realized he still had an arm around her. In one move she broke from his hold and took a step back. “I-if you were, the least you could’ve done was let me know.

Like the infuriating man that he was, Seth only shrugged. “Sorry. Smooth move, though—swiping the flash drive.”

The flash drive! She looked down at her hand briefly to ensure she still had it.

“We need to get out of here!”

“Excellent advice. Let’s go.” He grabbed her hand and pulled her along the isle of crates.

Sara tried to imitate his silent walk—toe first—as she cast wary glances behind them. Her heart rate had still not slowed down. “Do you know where you are going?”

Seth only nodded and put a finger to his lips before making an abrupt right turn, dragging her along after him. She felt frustration rising. Since when did Seth take over? She didn’t ask for his help.

She released a sigh. She should be grateful. No way would she be able to make it out of the warehouse by herself. There must be at least twenty men crawling around this warehouse. It was only by a miracle that she’d been able to sneak inside—and she couldn’t expect a miracle to happen twice in one day. Their zigzagged journey among the large crates seemed endless. Every once in a while she heard her father yell her name along with a string of threats when they caught her. She shivered. Who was this monster that had morphed from her father’s body?

Seth ducked behind a pile of dilapidated, broken, wooden boxes thrown carelessly in a pile. They were at the far corner of the warehouse. She prayed no one was within hearing. “Here we are.”

Sara peered around his shoulder. There, hidden behind the pile, was a rusted, rotted section of the wall that had been widened—no doubt by Seth’s hand—into a hole large enough to slip through.

Her mouth dropped open. “You mean to tell me that you watched me risk my life by sneaking through the front door when you had a back entrance already??” She knew her whisper was shrill and probably too loud, but she didn’t care.

Seth shrugged. “I didn’t think you would be stupid enough to try that!”

Stupid enough—”

He held up a hand. “Can we just go now before we are discovered?”
Good thing he cut her off—she might’ve ended up knocking out his perfect teeth.

Once outside, she crossed her arms and huffed. “Now what, O smart and mighty one, since I am evidently stupid enough to walk to the front of this warehouse and ask my daddy to drive me home.”

Seth rolled his eyes. “Now Sara—”

“Since you asked so nicely, I believe I will.”

Sara yelped as she spun toward the voice.

Her father stood a few feet away with three macho men behind them. The blood chilled in her veins as she took a cautious step backwards, toward Seth.

He took her hand and squeezed.

“I believe you have something that doesn’t belong to you, sweetheart.” Her father’s voice was stone cold. His endearment sounded taunting. “Haven’t I taught you not to take things that are not yours?”

Sara felt her chin raise a notch. “According to you, this”—she held up the flash drive—“is just a “purple shadow”. So if I use your twisted mindset, I could say I’m just taking what is mine. Won’t the police be happy to see what other flowers can be found in here?”

Seth squeezed her hand—hard. She’d said too much. One look at her father’s confirmed it.

His face described “murderous glare” to a tee.

When would she learn to hold her tongue? Not waiting to hear his response, Seth spun her in the direction of the nearby trees and gave her a push.


She didn’t need the prodding. Sara bolted ahead of him like a scarred rabbit. As she gained the safety of the woods, a pistol went off behind her, striking a tree nearby.

Not good.

“Don’t stop!” Seth panted beside her.

“No worries!” She gasped, running deeper into the forest. The sun had disappeared over the horizon, filling the woods with dark shadows.

How are we going to get outta here?

The ground suddenly dropped from underneath her. She tumbled down a steep incline, her body battered against the forest floor. When she finally skidded to a halt at the bottom of the little valley, she inhaled deeply to stop her spinning vision.


She jerked her gaze up to where Seth stared down at her in disbelief. “I-I’m okay,” she managed to shout, though her voice warbled.

“Hang on, I’m coming!”

Another shot echoed in the forest. Seth cried out and grabbed his arm, blood spurting from the wound. Sara felt a scream rip from her throat.


Her father and his three cronies ran down the trail, closing the short distance between them and Seth. “Seth, run!” Even as she screamed her desperate plea, she knew that he couldn’t escape in time.

“No, you run! Run, Sara. Go! Get—” The three macho men tackled him to the ground and she screamed in denial.

No! This can’t be happening! God, they’ll kill him!

“Go, Sara!” Seth grunted, punching one of the men off him and daring a glance in her direction.

Her father started looking for a safe way down the cliff. She had to move. Even though every bone in her body protested against leaving him, she had to escape or they would both be dead. A sob burned in her chest as she sprinted away, going the only direction that might promise deliverance—away.

Turning a corner, she was hidden from their view. But the breeze carried the sounds of Seth’s beating. Tears ran down her face as she covered her ears, wanting to shut out the awful sounds.

I’ve gotta get away. Have to escape. I can bring help!

\Evening shadows continued to descend around her. In a few minutes the entire forest would be pitch black. She paused in her mad dash and did a tight circle, viewing the woods around her.

She was lost.

In the dark.

And Seth was back there somewhere, dying if not already dead.

Things couldn’t get any worse.

Here's some further information about Katie.

I am 18 years old, and am third eldest in a large family - there are 12 of us total, including parents.  I have published my first book Journey of Faith with Outskirts Press. While the sequel to this book is currently on the back burner, I am working on a medieval romantic suspense, The Princess' Assassin, as well as another biblical historical fiction I am writing with a friend, Scattered Tears.