*REVIEW* ~ Girl of Glass, by Megan O’Russell

#youngadult #dystopian

Blurb

Two worlds…one glass wall…no turning back.

The human race has been divided. The chosen few live in the safety of the domes, watching through their glass walls as those left on the outside suffer and die. But desperation has brought invention, and new drugs have given the outsiders the strength to roam the poisoned night unafraid – but it comes at a price.

Seventeen-year-old Nola Kent has spent her life in the domes, being trained to protect her little piece of the world that has been chosen to survive. The mission of the domes is to preserve the human race, not to help the sick and starving. But when outsider Kieran Wynne begs for Nola’s help in saving an innocent life, she is drawn into a world of darkness and danger. The suffering on the other side of the glass is beyond anything Nola had imagined, and turning her back on the outside world to return to the safety of the domes may be more than she can stand. Even when her home is threatened by the very people Nola wants to help.

My Review

Addictive and hard-hitting – 5 stars

I absolutely LOVED this hard-hitting and addictive dystopian novel. It’s the first book I have read by the author and she is extremely talented in creating well-rounded characters and a riveting and thought-provoking read.

The central character Nola, the ‘Girl of Glass’ of the title, is flanked by two friends and would-be-lovers in an emotional love triangle: Kieran, who along with his father, has been banished from the domes for flouting its rules, and Jeremy a strict defender of the rules set by the dome dwellers and whose father is captain of the outer guard.

The writing flows beautifully and I felt the emotions of Nola, Kieran and Jeremy and empathised with their respective predicaments. The book also features some strongly developed secondary characters and excellent world building. The lives of those outside the domes , whose existence revolves around survival in a hostile environment, contrast with those of the dome dwellers, a privileged and ordered elite dedicated to science and duty. The impact of the drugs that many outside the dome are compelled to take to survive is pivotal to the plot and I enjoyed this element immensely.

Normally I shy away from books involving love triangles but here it worked for me, particularly so as Kieran and Jeremy, Nola’s friend and fellow dome dweller, shared a past history. I hugely enjoyed the tension filled plot as Nola is thrust into danger and is torn between two young men, whilst wrestling with her own moral compass in which she wants the best for all in the world and not just those fortunate to reside alongside her in the glass dome.

Should she chose the safety and order of the domes dedicated to protect the few or the danger and chaos of the world outside, where death can be just around the corner? It is only a matter of time before these two worlds collide and Nola will be caught in the crossfire and forced to choose.

A super read, one I’d recommend to teenagers and above.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair aand honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK

Connect with the Author

https://www.meganorussell.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ORussellauthor/

 

 

 

*SHELLEY WILSON* ~ Author Interview and Spotlight on her new release Guardians of the Lost Lands (book 3 of The Guardians)

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Today we are delighted to welcome Shelley Wilson to our blog. Shelley is the author of young adult fiction and self-help non-fiction and she is also an active blogger. We are thrilled that she has agreed to provide us with an interview so that we can quiz her about her writing process, future plans and also her new release Guardians of the Lost Lands (book 3 of The Guardians). Scroll down to find out more. 🙂 

Interview with Shelley

1.Welcome to our blog Shelley, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what prompted you to start writing?

I was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire but moved to the West Midlands when I was just eight years old. Even though I have a Brummie accent, I still think of myself as a Yorkshire lass!

I’m a single mum to three amazing teenagers, one fat goldfish, and a black cat called Luna. My background is in holistic health, and I ran a successful ladies only spa for seven years before illness forced my hand, and I had to close. Writing always played an important part in my life from a young age, but it was only when I reached my thirties that I took it seriously – or should that be, took myself seriously as a writer.

2.Your books encompass young adult fiction and self-help non-fiction. Which genre did you write in first and to what extent do you think (if any) your writing in either  genre influences the other?

swi1I’ve written fiction for years but never did anything with it. I would submit work to magazines and receive positive feedback but then allow self-doubt to penetrate my thoughts. I never considered writing non-fiction until I started blogging. It was the self-help titles that hit the bookshelves first and in turn that success influenced me to complete my YA trilogy.

There is a fine line between both genres. It might seem strange saying that as one contains demons, faeries, and witches, and the other talks about meditation, goal setting, and achieving success, however, my protagonist in the Guardian trilogy requires all the skills from my self-help books to fulfill her quest.

I was also able to incorporate my energy healing and meditation techniques in my fantasy novels, giving my MC powers that accessed her chakra points (seven wheels of energy we have in our body). I enjoyed overlapping the two.

3.What role do you think that young adult novels can play in helping young people address issues around their own self-development, their relationship with others and the wider world?

Great question! As a YA author and a mum to three teens, helping young people is at the forefront of my mind. One of the things I love most about the YA genre is how no topic is taboo. The youngsters of today have more to deal with than my generation ever did, and the advancements in technology have a lot to do with that. They can’t switch off – ever! Life is 24/7 and with this speed, comes an increase in anxiety and mental health issues. Being able to cover these topics in YA novels is of great importance. Not only do you want to give your young reader a break from reality, but you want to answer their questions, or test their opinions and prepare them for an unknown future.

4.In terms of the world building in your fantasy series The Guardians, did you swi2carry out much research into or did you give your imagination free reign?

There was minimal research involved in the world building aspect, apart from spending a pleasant couple of hours scrolling through the fantasy art images on Pinterest and adding them to my book boards. Having said that, even though my demon and faerie realms are made-up, I still need to ensure they have a hierarchy. For example, in book one, Guardians of the Dead, the demon realm is ruled by a General, who commands his army and runs the stronghold. In the second book, Guardians of the Sky, there are some scenes set in a castle (of sorts), so I needed to research the terminology to make it easier for my readers to picture. It’s these details that I need to look into as I build my worlds.

5.What was your inspiration for the story and the characters in The Guardians series?

The rough idea behind the trilogy came from a photograph of a hooded statue in a cemetery that I saw in a magazine. I have a fascination with cemeteries and so kept flicking back to this particular image. I ended up cutting it out and fixing it to my notice board. The more I looked at it, the more the story details fell into place. My organisational side kicked in soon after, and I plotted the novel out chapter by chapter.

It might be worth noting that I used NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to write the first draft of all three books in the trilogy. According to the rules, you are allowed to plan, plot and build character profiles, but you can’t begin writing until 1st November. Before I began writing the first book I immersed myself in the world I had created, collecting fantasy images and jotting down any scene ideas that came to mind. The characters evolved over time, but my MC, Amber, was fully formed from the moment I saw that image in the magazine. She’s everything I wished I’d been at sixteen!

6.What has been some of the most rewarding aspects of writing your self-help books?

sw5My non-fiction book, How I Changed My Life in a Year, was published in 2014 and I still receive tons of emails, tweets, and Facebook messages from readers thanking me for writing it. Hearing how people have started Open University courses, changed career, or turned their lives around after reading my book is incredible. I’ve cried at some of the marvelous letters I’ve had and made loads of new friends because of that single book. It still amazes me when I set up at a book fair, or Mind, Body, Spirit exhibition, and readers come rushing over to meet me and thank me. I’m just a single mum with grey hair and back fat! When I ran my holistic health business it was my main aim to help empower women to be the best they can be; I’m glad that I can continue to do this with my writing.

7.What is your writing process like? To what extent do you plan and how much do you just let the words flow? Does your approach vary depending on whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction?

There’s a writing process? Only kidding, I used to wing it, which is probably why I never got anything finished. Taking part in NaNo has forced me into being an OCD plotter.

As soon as I get an idea, I open a new notebook (any excuse to visit Paperchase!), and I start to jot down character bios and basic ideas. I tend to work with Christopher Vogler’s hero’s journey system to help me get my initial thoughts down. Even though I do a detailed plot outline, once I start writing the characters take over. In the Guardian series, Amber was supposed to be a witch – mid-scene she decided that wasn’t challenging enough and so now she’s the last Oracle!

With my non-fiction, I tend to set my chapter headings and go with the flow from there. As I’m writing about topics I know, it’s easy to churn out hundreds of words without a detailed plan.

8.Do you write every day? Also how do you cope if you experience writer’s block?

I try to ensure I write something every day, even if it’s just a few notes in my planner. Monday to Friday I concentrate on writing my books, editing, and preparing blog content including book reviews, and author interviews. At the weekend I’ll write if the kids are busy, but if they’re around, I’ll try to spend time with them. The older they get, the more time I spend at my computer on a Saturday! My middle son plays football every Sunday so at least I manage to get a couple of hours of fresh air!

I’ve never experienced writer’s block; I have the opposite problem of too many ideas whirling around and not knowing which one to work on first. If this happens, I’ll write a list of all my musings just to stop the brain chatter. I can then choose one to concentrate on. Writing for my two blogs means I always have something to say or do. I guess this is the perfect antidote to writer’s block.

9.If you could give an aspiring author one tip, what would it be?

Read. I’ve got a million other tips, but that’s the one that stands out as the most important one for me. I’ve discovered more about myself as a writer by reading other people’s work than any how-to-write book can show me. You learn to ‘hear’ the writer’s voice and can then find your own.

10.If you had one wish to change the world for the better what would it be?

Oh my, what a question! There is so much wrong with our world that I wouldn’t know where to start. Ending poverty and war needs to be top of the list. If we could also learn to embrace each other regardless of colour, class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, then that would go a small way towards healing the world.

11.What sort of books do you read in your spare time? Also when you are not writing or reading what do you like to do?

I adore reading YA fantasy novels, and love getting my teeth into a book series. My favourite YA authors are Cassandra Clare and Sarah J Maas. A few years ago, I joined Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team and had to expand my reading to encompass all sorts of genres. I’ve since developed a love of historical fiction (mostly Tudors), crime, murder/mystery, and horror/post-apocalyptic. I don’t do chick-lit or romance!

If I’m not writing or reading, then I’m leading an exceedingly boring existence. I enjoy going to the gym and running on the treadmill, I also love going to the cinema and can happily go on my own to watch a film (tub of popcorn all to yourself, need I say more!). I’m quite creative, so I love doing adult colouring books, spending far too long on Pinterest, and creating projects for my motivational blog. Other than that, you’ll find me curled up with a book.

12.Finally can you share with us about what your next release will be and what you are working on?

Guardians of the Lost Lands is the final book in my Guardians trilogy and releases on Friday 11th November.

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Here’s the blurb:

Amber’s final quest could claim her soul, but it’s a journey she must make.

The evil that lurks in the Lost Lands threatens to infest the realms unless Amber, Redka, and Connor can destroy it. But Amber is more concerned about her father’s safety as he is held captive by the wickedness that terrorises them all.

Amber faces isolation and mistrust from her friends as they travel across land and sea to meet their most dangerous foe.

Will she be able to stay true to her destiny as the last Oracle, or will she be tempted by the darkness? The fate of the realms is in her hands.

Amber’s final quest will be her most terrifying yet. This time, it will be deadly.

I’ve loved writing these books, but Guardians of the Lost Lands is slightly more special for me. During the writing process, I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, a nasty side effect of the illness I had. The dark mood and black thoughts seeped into my writing and ended up taking Amber in a different direction. Book three is much darker than the others, but it all adds to the impact, and hopefully shows my teen readers that these feelings are perfectly normal.

I’ve got a couple of projects on the go at the moment, now that the Guardian trilogy is complete. I’m editing a standalone YA werewolf novel which I have thoroughly enjoyed writing, and this should be available early next year – my editor loved it too and wanted me to write a sequel!

On the non-fiction side, I have an Oracle Guide Book coming out in December which is a motivational tool for inspiring you every week of the year. I’m also working on a sequel to How I Changed My Life in a Year which will fit into the memoir/self-help/women’s biography category again.

It’s a busy time, but I’m loving my writer life and hope it continues for many years to come.

Thank you so much for allowing me to invade your beautiful blog, Tina. I hope your readers enjoyed  my interview.

If they want to connect with me then I can be found lurking around social media most days:

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72

Author Blog – http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.com

YA Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson

Motivational Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/resolutionchallenge

Website – http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.co.uk

Motivational Blog: http://myresolutionchallenge.blogspot.com

Pinterest: http://uk.pinterest.com/MotivateMeBlog

Instagram: http://www.instagram/authorslwilson

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7362789.Shelley_Wilson

Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.co.uk/Shelley-Wilson/e/B00G5KPMJI

Thank you for visiting us today Shelley and best of luck with your future releases. ❤

 

 

**ARC REVIEW** ~ November Rain (Bad Bloods #1), Shannon A Thompson

Young Adult

#dystopian, #urbanfantasy #scifi #paranormal

Bad

Book Blurb

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

My Review ~ 5 stars

Dark and Insightful Dystopian read

November Rain is the first instalment in the Bad Bloods series, available for pre-order, alongside November Snow the next book in the series. It is a real treat to read –fast-paced, character driven and eerily prescient. Originally conceived by author Shannon A Thompson over a decade ago, it has now been re-released by Clean Teen Publishing.

The story is set in a world where the divisions between those in power and those who are reviled by the status quo are chilling and stark. This future dystopia echoes current world events where we are witnessing many societies becoming more and more fearful and intolerant of those who are different and where there is talk of walls, both physical and metaphorical being put up to keep people apart. The story is told through the eyes of young adults and children and I feel that the issues raised are all the more poignant for it.

Serena the heroine, a bad blood, condemned to death by the authorities, escapes her fate after being unexpectedly freed by a prison guard. Exhausted and injured she is on the run and is saved and healed by Daniel, a fellow bad blood who is leader of a rival ‘flock’ (a group of bad bloods who join together for survival). As the plot unfolds we learn that Serena and Daniel are linked in some way and that Serena has a pivotal role to play in ensuring that the result of the impending election is favourable to her kind, giving them a place in human society, rather than them being exterminated.

There is no love lost between Robert, the leader of Serena’s flock and Daniel. The two have a history, although neither the reader nor Serena is privy to the details. Both Serena and Daniel know that pursuing their friendship will undoubtedly lead to a confrontation, but nevertheless they are drawn to one another. Daniel and others know that Serena and her powers are special in some way. What is her role in safeguarding the future of the bad bloods at this crucial time of an impending election which pits those who would protect her kind against those who hanker after their destruction? Is she up to the challenge? Who will survive the approaching storm? Not all of these questions will be answered. Indeed, there is plenty of suspense and the scene is set for more revelations and plot twists in book #2 which I am impatient to read!

I am familiar with the work of Shannon A Thompson and she is an immensely talented writer. She does a fantastic job of painting the picture of the dystopian society which her characters inhabit. It is a world where the bad bloods, those who possess unpredictable and special abilities, are feared and persecuted. It is chilling in parts, often hinting at horrors, rather than describing them in detail. It is a reminder of how societies can sometimes turn against others, perceiving them as a threat purely on the basis of them being different. I was reminded of events from history such as the witch trails and the Holocaust, not to mention contemporary events surrounding the modern day diaspora of those from war torn countries which has resulted in the pressure of immigration on other nations, which  some are fearful of.

A top read for readers of Young Adult fiction and/or for those who are seeking a thought provoking read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK

Connect with the Author

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6880615.Shannon_A_Thompson

https://shannonathompson.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorShannonAThompson/

**COVER REVEAL** ~ Love the Way You Lie (Stripped #1), by Skye Warren

Dark Romance, Thriller, Young-Adult

I just love the re-vamped covers for Skye Warren’s Stripped series, so feast your eyes on the dangerous and mysterious Kip from Love the Way You Lie, who is about to turn the heroine, Honey’s life into turmoil!  This author’s work is amongst the very best when it comes to writing dark romances. Don’t forget you can currently buy ‘Pretty When You Cry’ in the series for 99c/99p – just click on the link at the end of this post. 🙂

 

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Love the Way You Lie
Skye Warren
(Stripped #1)
Publication date: Adult, Romance
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

A dark romance about the lies that lead us down…

I’ll do anything to get safe, even if that means working at the scariest club in town.

I’ll do anything to stay hidden, even if it means taking off my clothes for strangers.

I’ll do anything to be free. Except give him up. When he looks at me, I forget why I can’t have him. He’s beautiful and scarred. His body fits mine, filling the places where I’m hollow, rough where I am soft.

He’s the one man who wants to help me, but he has his own agenda. He has questions I can’t answer. What are you afraid of?

You.

Goodreads / Amazon

The complete series:

Pretty-500x750 LoveTheWayYouLie-500x750 EvenBetter-500x750 CaughtForChristmas-500x750 ToughLove-SkyeWarren-500x750 BetterWhenItHurts-500x750

Background formed with leather texture pattern

Author Bio:

SkyeProfileImage

Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of dark romance. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely tender.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter



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**COVER REVEAL** Bad Bloods, by Shannon A. Thompson

Young Adult Romance

Bad Bloods Cover Reveal 

Bad Bloods in 35 words or less: 17-year-old Serena is the only bad blood to escape execution. Now symbolized for an election, she must prove her people are human despite hindering abilities before everyone is killed and a city is destroyed.

Shannon A. Thompson is a young adult author, poet, and blogger. In fact, she runs a website just for readers and writers called www.ShannonAThompson.com. This past year she released The Timely Death Trilogy with Clean Teen Publishing, and now, we have a new series to look forward to. Bad Bloods is a two-part YA story, both of which are releasing in July of 2016. Learn more below, and let it snow.

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

NRcover

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

November Snow, Part Two, eBook releases July 25, 2016

(paperback releases in November of 2016) 

NScover

When Daniel and Serena unite, their accidental relationship becomes the catalyst for a twelve-year war to continue. Exposing the twisted past of a corrupt city, Daniel, Serena, and everyone they know will come together to fight. But Serena has another battle. After a political rumor threatens their lives, Serena must leave her family and join the political front against her will. To survive apart, Daniel has to separate his love from his hatred and join forces with his worst memory to secure Vendona’s war. But very few of them will survive to see the last day. Bad blood or human, a city will burn, snow will fall, and all will be united by catastrophic secrets and irrevocable tragedy.

Follow Shannon on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Newsletter 

About Shannon A. Thompson:  

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Shannon A. Thompson is a young adult author, avid reader, and a habitual chatterbox.

As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat, Bogart, named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Her other two cats bring her coffee. Between writing and befriending cats, Thompson graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, and her work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies. Thompson is currently represented by Clean Teen Publishing, and The Timely Death Trilogy is now available.

Visit her blog for writers and readers at www.ShannonAThompson.com.

Love free books? Shannon has one up for grabs right now! 

Minutes Before Sunset on:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

**RELEASE DAY** ~ Seconds Before Sunrise (book #2 in The Timely Death Trilogy), by Shannon A Thompson

Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Congratulations to Shannon A Thompson on the release of Seconds Before Sunrise, the second book in The Timely Death Trilogy! Here’s a super teaser to feast your eyes on. Scroll down for the purchase links to this novel and to others in the series. Tina ❤

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Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, (Amazon, Barnes & Noble) and Death Before Daylight, book 3, (Amazon, Barnes & Noble).

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Win paperbacks and more at the CTP Find Your Next Read Facebook Party, which takes place on August 28. Shannon A Thompson will be there so why not pop in and say ‘hi.’

**BOOK BLITZ** ~ Sorrow Woods, by Beckie Stevenson (excerpt and giveaway)

Beckie

 

SYNOPSIS:

“How did you even get here?”
I blink at him, confused by his question. “We live here.”
“You live here, in these woods?”
When Kaiden stumbles across Serena Scott while hunting in Sorrow Woods he thinks all of his birthdays have come at once. Finally, the girl that’s haunted and intrigued him  and his parents for the last fourteen years is standing in front of him.
And she’s alive.
Serena should have known that he would shatter her life into a thousand pieces. It wasn’t because of the gun, or the tattoos that snaked around his arm, but because he was the
first boy that she’d ever set eyes on.
 
He wasn’t just any boy either; he was Kaiden Matthews. He was dark, dangerous and  strangely alluring. And he was beautiful.
 
Serena’s life as  she knows it is destroyed after Kaiden drops his bombshell. As the consequences of his actions begin to penetrate through into her life she vows to stay away from him, and while she might have been in his past, she refuses to be his future.
 
Kaiden knows that in order for either of them to salvage anything from the mess he’s made he needs to make sure the secrets of his past stay hidden, but as they start to rebuild their lives they find themselves stuck in a whirlwind of secrets and confessions that could threaten to break their already fragile relationship.
 
PURCHASE LINKS:
 
 
 
 
 
Kaiden
  
FOUR HOURS LATER, when the sun is at its highest in the sky and all of my bodily fluids have been sweated out of me, I find myself hiking up a mountain behind Serena, while trying not to constantly stare at her toned ass. The trees are scarce up here now, and I still have no idea where it is
that we’re going.
After breakfast, I spent an hour telling Elodie and Serena where in the world we live and about the different ways people go about their days. I still can’t believe that they have no idea how normal people live. What sort of person keeps children hidden away like this?
“We’re here,” says Elodie, interrupting my thoughts. She pulls all of her clothes off until she’s standing in nothing but her faded grey panties.
I look around and see nothing but the valley below us and the sky above us. “What do you mean we’re here? I thought we were going to the lake?” I ask, confused.
Serena smiles and peels her black sundress over her head. I wasn’t expecting her to do that, which is why I don’t avert my eyes. Underneath her black, strappy dress, she is wearing a tiny black crop top and a pair of black panties. She pulls off her shoes and stands stock still, staring at me.
“You’re not going into the water like that are you?” she asks, not answering my questions.
My eyes are travelling all over her body. I can’t believe the way it looks, as if she goes to the gym every single day. It’s not manly muscle but slender, womanly curves and defined muscles that stare back at me. I look down at my clothes and shrug. I pull my jeans and socks off, peeling my t-shirt off
over my head. I leave my boxers on.
“Are you going to tell me where this lake is?” I ask again.
Serena wraps her fingers around my wrist and pulls me across the rocky ground until we’re at the very top of the mountain. I step forward and see a  huge body of water below me. I look back at Serena and feel my heart jump into my throat when I see Elodie sprinting past us, launching herself off the side of the mountain. Serena laughs.
“You’re not too scared to jump into a little lake, are you?” she teases.
I shake my head but don’t look at her. I’m too busy watching Elodie plummet through the sky before slicing through the water. I don’t breathe for the entire four seconds that Elodie is under the water, not until her head bobs up and I see her hand waving at us.
“Come on, wimpy boy.”
I turn back around and watch as Serena does exactly the same as Elodie, except instead of just jumping, she dives cleanly through the air. She’s only under the water for two seconds before she bursts back through the surface and grins at me. I don’t know how far the drop is, but it’s more than I’ve ever jumped before.
Still, I can’t stay here so I take four steps back and run as fast as my body will carry me off the edge. The warm air whips across my skin as I drop through the sky. The water is getting closer and closer to my feet. I can’t remember what to do. Do I point my toes? Yes, I must or else I’ll break my
feet. Should my arms be close to my side? I have just enough time to make myself as streamlined as possible before I feel the coolness of water on the tip of my toes.
My whole body plunges into the freezing cold water, stealing my breath away. I kick hard until my head surfaces, and then I pant and cough the breath back in my lungs. The shock of going from boiling hot to freezing cold is too much. My chest aches and my eyes sting.
“There he is,” says Serena, laughing as she swims up to me. “Are you  alright?”
I nod and cough. “I think so,” I rasp.
“He’s not like us,” says Elodie with a grin. “He’s not used to it.”
Serena treads water directly in front of me. The water drips off her hair and down her face. I want to touch her and see what her skin feels like in  the water. Before I can reach out to her, she kicks out and swims away from me.
I shake my head, sending droplets of water flying out around me. I shouldn’t be thinking about her like that anyway. I keep forgetting that I’m supposed to hate her. I rub my face with my hands and spin around to see where they’re swimming to, but I can’t see anything except water.
“Where are we going?” I ask, trying to keep up with them. I’ve never met anyone else in my life that can swim or run as fast as these two.
“To land,” says Serena. “Keep up, wimpy boy.”
I wish she wouldn’t call me that. She wouldn’t think I was a wimpy boy if she knew all of the horrible shit I’ve done over the years. My parents certainly wouldn’t call me a wimpy boy. I think about my Dad and what he would say if he could see me now. I smile as I think about the look on his face.
 
MY WATCH TELLS me that we’ve been swimming for over two  hours. I think back to my swim sessions at school when I used to be able to swim a mile in an hour. Despite the fact that I’m going faster than ever before, Serena is still miles ahead of me. I can feel my muscles aching, even  though I’ve had years of soccer and track training. No wonder Serena has a body like an athlete.

When we finally arrive on land, we walk for ten minutes until we find a  pool of water that Serena says we can drink from. I flop down and gulp it as if it’ll run out. When my belly is full and I can’t physically drink any more, I lie down on top of the dry grass, staring at the water that’s sparkling against Serena’s skin. She turns her head, snaps her sizzling green eyes onto me, and smiles. And in that instant, I can’t help but think that she’s slowly starting  to melt my cold, hard heart.

AUTHOR BIO: 

Beckie - Author Photo (2)Beckie’s real name is Rebecca, but she get’s called (and answers to)  any of the following…Beckie, Bek, Becca, Rebecca, Pip, Pippy or Stevo. Beckie is the author of ‘Sorrow Woods,’ the ‘Existing’ series and Noah and Me.’ She  is due to publish more YA, NA and Adult novels in 2015/16. She lives in Staffordshire, England, with her partner and two children. Beckie likes putting music on in the house and dancing around like a mad woman. When she isn’t playing with her children, doing housework, dancing around the house like a mad woman, walking, cycling, reading or writing, then she can be found working in an investment bank. Or sleeping.
 
AUTHOR MEDIA  LINKS:
Twitter:  @BeckieStevenson
Instagram:  BeckieStevo
 
 

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