Thursday, August 21, 2014

'Fallen (Guardian Trilogy Book #1)' by Laury Falter

About the book:

Young Adult Fantasy
Date Published: April 1, 2009


Maggie is unaware of the terrifying fate that awaits her. It isn’t until she lands in New Orleans for a full year at a private high school and her unknown enemies find her does she realize that her life is in danger.

As a mystifying stranger repeatedly intervenes and blocks the attempts on her life, she begins to learn that there is more to him than his need to protect her and that he may be the key to understanding why her enemies have just now arrived.

Read an excerpt:
I apologize for the delay, Abaddon.” 
I turned my head to find Eran standing beside me, no more than a few inches away.

Excitement swelled inside me, so powerful I couldn’t have contained it if I’d wanted to. The nervousness now displayed on Abaddon’s face gave me even stronger encouragement. 
I wanted so desperately to reach out and wrap my arms around Eran, wanted it more than anything in the world. My desperate yearning was only being held back because I still couldn’t move.

I’m not sure Eran would have allowed it anyways. He was a warrior, and he was now engaged in battle. Besides, I was nothing more to him than someone to save. 
Eran didn’t look my way but kept his focus on Abaddon, who stepped back a few paces, his confidence faltering.

It was Sarai who strolled forward, self-assured, placing herself in the middle.

As she strolled by Abaddon, she mused, “Don’t worry, I believe I can handle this one.” Her face curled up into a hideous grin as she continued her approach.

I knew then what she planned…but it was too late. 
“Eran, so good to see you again…” she whispered in a low drawl. 
“No!” I screamed enraged, waiting for Eran to fall to the ground, whimpering with desperation as Rufus had done.

Eran remained standing. 
A moment passed and Sarai’s face contorted, confusion setting in. Her state of shock became more defined, deepening further when he finally replied. 
“You don’t work on me, Sarai…” I watched in disbelief as his gorgeous smirk, the one I missed so deeply, rose up. Eran turned and his stunning eyes settled on me, concentrating so intently I could not have mistaken his message. “I’m already in love.” 
The world changed for me at that moment. As Eran’s confession hung in the air, I felt the passion and the power in me swell. Nothing was impossible now.

Sarai’s mouth fell open, a shaken sigh escaping. She then looked at me, her eyes narrowing in fury as Eran’s words sunk in. 
Eran flippantly disregarded her, turning to address Abaddon. “You are outnumbered. You are overpowered. You have allowed yourself to be cornered. Shoddy work, Abaddon.” 
As I watched their interaction, it dawned on me that Eran was enjoying this moment and that it appeared to have been long overdue. I felt a smile on my lips, nearly causing me to giggle. 
It was then Abaddon released me. I fell to the ground, hitting it hard but overwhelmed with relief. I glanced up, wondering what power Eran had over Abaddon to give up his hold on me.

In an instant, I realized what had happened. 
Abaddon had let me go willingly. He needed his energy – all of it – for another reason… 
Leaning forward, Abaddon’s arms extended, his feet sweeping up from the ground, as he lunged for Eran.

Buy links

About Laury Falter

Laury Falter is a bestselling author of young adult romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She is also an animal rights activist, a sailor, a one-handed golf putterer, and a Colorado River conqueror.

She has three series out: the Guardian Trilogy, the Residue Series, and the Apocalypse Chronicles.





Goodreads page:

Monday, August 18, 2014

'Lightning Girl' by 27


Heaven and Hell have spent millennia anticipating the arrival of the Envoy, the savior of prophecy who is said to unite the dimensions. A young girl named Stephanie with mysterious control over static electricity becomes enamored with Kyan a sweet, if unremarkable, little boy. Stephanie exposes her secret to the world when an accident reveals that Kyan is anything but ordinary. Putting everything on the line, Stephanie attempts to lead a group of gifted teens into a battle that could destroy their world. Where have all these strange powers come from and why does Eric say that death isn't the end?

~~Read an excerpt here.~~

Available in ebook and paperback at Amazon

Author Bio:

“Lightning Girl” is the first book in an epic fantasy series by first time author 27. 27 likes fight scenes, superpowers and dragons and hopes to write them all in the upcoming Superconnected sequels.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Review of 'Plantation Nation' by Mercedes King

About the book:

Historical Fiction
Date Published: May 27, 2014

Sixteen year old Emma Cartwright runs away from her family’s South Carolina rice plantation after a slave is beaten to death. Determined to join the fight against slavery, Emma enlists in the Union Army disguised as a young man. Nothing could prepare her for the sacrifices needed—and for falling in love for the first time.

Read an excerpt:
Washington, D.C.
May, 1861
Overdressed in Quinn’s old, ill-fitting clothes and with linen strips squeezed around her breasts Emma stepped off a train that arrived in the capital city on a sunny afternoon and never felt more awkward. Every time someone’s gaze rested on her, she feared her disguise was a failure. Eye contact made her queasy, so she did her best to keep her head down as she headed into the city’s busy streets. But the horde of people bustling around Emma increased her nervousness and made her question her hasty decision.
Before Emma had left the plantation, she had taken a handsome amount of money from the family money chest. Knox would be furious, she knew, but Emma viewed the sum as a partial inheritance rather than a stolen booty. She had also agreed with Stuart that she should be the one to inform her mother and grandfather about what she had done. She did, in a letter she mailed from a train depot in South Carolina. However, she decided to leave out key points, including her intention to assume a new identity and join the Yankees. She kept it simple and said she had to run away since Sylvia was gone and Vaughn did not suit her.
Now, armed with a satchel full of items from home, she weaved through the streets of Washington searching for the recruiting office. Fellow passers-by had misdirected her, so she gave up on civilians and found a gentleman dressed in a navy-blue coat with brass buttons and a hat that appeared to sag above the forehead. A Union soldier.
“Pardon me, sir,” Emma said with her new voice. “Could you please direct me to the recruiting headquarters?”
The man looked her over. “Little on the spry side, ain’t ’cha, son?”
“No, sir.” Emma straightened herself, though she felt terribly self-conscious in Quinn’s trousers. “I’m old enough to contribute to the cause.”
Meybe, but if I’s you, son, I’d stick to helpin’ out your ma at home.”
Ain’t got no home.” The realization of the truth in her words made her eyes watery. She quickly rubbed away the evidence of her emotions and wanted to curse herself for seeming weak and vulnerable in front of the first person she had spoken to. How would she convince a camp full of soldiers that she was a man if simple facts from her life brought tears?
But the man flashed a half-grin. “Head north about a quarter of a mile. You’ll see a sign pointin’ you to the office.”
Emma thanked him and went on her way with the man’s well wishes.


Before entering the recruiting office, Emma girded herself for a lot of lying. Several men passed in and out of the building before Emma made up her mind to go in. Could she sign away her life to the volunteer army? Could she live among Yankees? What would be the cost if she were found out?
Emma shook her head and chided her thoughts. She refused to listen to cowardly notions. Instead, she thought of Stuart, who didn’t have the option of being there. With a deep breath, she righted herself and took her place inside at the end of the line. A stench of body odor greeted her and did nothing to settle her quivering stomach and trembling legs.

**My thoughts**

The story of a girl disguising herself as a man to enter the army to fight for what she believes in is not a new one. It has been done time and time again. This one, for me, was a different story. This one is about a Southern girl who is against slavery, so she goes to the North to fight. Instead of regularly seeing combat, she is placed in the hospital, which probably better fits her disposition and skills. Emma learns a lot about herself and her true beliefs as the conflict evolves around her. She discovers the harsh truth about why people are really fighting. She learns how to find an inner strength she doesn't know that she had. Her faith in both God and people is tested time and time again.

What I really liked about this book is how the author wove in the historical facts, without skipping a beat in her story telling. I have long been a fan of the Civil War, but don't have all of my facts memorized anymore. I felt like it was a pretty accurate portrayal of what really happened back then. 

I enjoyed the story, itself. For the most part, it felt believable. Sometimes I had a question as to how little things could have really happened, but it wasn't so burning that I couldn't continue to read the book. It's an historical fiction that is interesting and worth reading. I think that even though it is written in the young adult genre, older elementary and middle grade readers could also enjoy it, as it isn't overly graphic. Of course, it is interesting for adults, as well.

Buy link

About the author:

Mercedes King is an Ohio native and founding member of Sisters in Crime Columbus, Ohio (affectionately dubbed SiCCO). With a degree in Criminology from Capital University and a passion for writing, she crafted O! Jackie, a novel focusing on the private life of Jackie Kennedy. She has also written The Kennedy Chronicles, a series of short stories featuring JFK and Jackie before they were married and before 'Camelot'. Mercedes writes in a variety of genres, including historical and mystery / suspense. In fact, she's working on creating a new genre, 'modern historical'.

Her newest release, Plantation Nation, follows the journey of Emma Cartwright, a 16 year old Southern girl who disguises herself as a young man and joins the Union Army.

Visit her sites, or . Contact her at Mercedes 'at' ojackiebook 'dot' com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Twitter: @Mercedes_King_


Instagram: mercedes_king_author

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

'Meanmna: Book 1 of the Daeren Realms' by Emmy Gatrell


Seventeen-year-old Sarette has always thought of her life as average, even a bit boring. She does well in school, has a loving mother and a loyal best friend, Mathew. Of course, she has her problems as well—cold Michigan winters, a long-lost father she knows nothing about, and the lack of a boyfriend. She also has the vague sensation that she is being watched by some unseen entity, but figures that means she’s average and crazy. Nothing could be further from the truth . . .

Daearen isn't much different than the human world. Imagine a world where science is replaced with magic.

About the author:

Emmy is a stay-at-home mom and writer. She grew up in Metro-Detroit and went to college Adrian, Michigan. After spending more than a decade in Georgia with her husband, two kids, and dogs, she decided it was still too cold for her and now splits her time between the US and Costa Rica. She loves to read, write, Zumba, hike, travel, and spend time with her family. Emmy's love of her roots and of travel comes out in her writing as she creates a new universe in the Daearen Realms.

Emmy has published the first two books in the Daearen Realm series; Meanmna and Bienn-Theine and is currently writing book three, Eitlean, while dabbling with writing several others. She has a passion for reading which comes out in her writing.


Monday, July 28, 2014

'Love Edy (Book 1)' by Shewanda Pugh


When Edy Phelps falls hard for her best friend, she knows nothing can come from it. Forget actual chemistry, or the fact that she cherishes his mother more than her own; centuries of tradition say that Hassan will grow up, marry the girl his parents pick, and forget his best friend: the dancer with the bursting smile. Except he can't. In a world erupting with possibilities for the boy with a body of steel and dreams of the NFL, everything seems promised while nothing at all is; when he's denied the girl he wants most. 

Two hearts. Two families devoted through generations of friendship. Could Edy and Hassan really risk all that? And yet ... how could they not?

Read an excerpt:

Mason muscled the Land Rover over a bed of shrubs and into the street, knocking his passengers left then right with the hustle. Just as Matt yelled for him to head in the opposite direction, Lawrence demanded to know if he could possibly hurry up. Hassan’s eyes kept to the street, desperate for a glimpse of a just-departed Edy.
He supposed to an outsider their panic looked silly. But none of them cared. Edy was one of them, and they didn’t need her father to remind them.
“Why would she leave like that?” Mason said, halting at a red light and chewing on the side of his thumb.
“Maybe someone tried something,” Lawrence said.
“Tried something?” Matt echoed.
Silence filled the cabin.
Hassan’s face tightened, teeth sealing with the weight of wet cement. That image didn’t work for him. It didn’t work for him one friggin’ bit.
If someone had tried something, Edy would’ve come to one of us,” Mason said.
Chloe, who sat wedged between Hassan and Lawrence in the center backseat, cleared her throat. “Maybe she didn’t want to,” she offered.
That had everyone’s attention.
“And why wouldn’t she want to?” Matt snapped.
“I don’t know,” Chloe said. “Maybe . . . if she liked it.” She looked from one face to the next, each cold, hard, unappreciative.
“Maybe you oughta be quiet,” Lawrence muttered and turned to face the window.
Hassan rode with the company of his thoughts, now violently intruded on by Chloe’s assertion.
Meanwhile, he kept dialing Edy’s cell and it went to voicemail each time. Tension hung like a threat in the air.
“Who saw her last?” Mason demanded.
“Oh, don’t start that again,” Lawrence said. He turned to Hassan, eyed the cell in his hand. “Keep trying. Keep calling.”
Hassan sighed. He pushed away a thousand crazy thoughts: that Lorenzo Carpenter had been lying to them, that Chloe had been telling the truth, that Chloe had been talking about Lorenzo when she told them the truth.
“We have to check her house,” Mason said. “It’s the only place left.”
“Right,” Matt sneered. “We just walk into her living room and ask Nathan if he’s seen the daughter he left with us.”
“Not us.” Mason said. “Sawn.”
“How?” Hassan said. He looked up from the phone.
“You’ve got a key,” Matt pointed out. “Use it and walk up to her room.”
“Like Nathan isn’t up? Waiting?” Hassan said.
“Window,” Lawrence said. “Climb up. Look in. See if she’s there.”
Her window. Their secret rendezvous place since Hassan had learned to climb trees at six. It was a decent idea. He could only hope that her father wasn’t sitting on the bed, waiting for his now-late daughter.
They parked on the tail end of Hassan’s street, Dunberry, behind a cluster of oaks and a stop sign. All four boys climbed out, hunched low, and scurried covertly to 2260, Edy’s address, while Chloe waited behind in the car. On arrival, the Dyson brothers clustered around a sweeping, aged, and red-tipped chestnut, squinting upward as Hassan scaled it. They watched with a nervous eye for Edy’s parents, or his, next door.
Hassan made it to the thick “V” of limbs that split half toward Edy’s house, half toward his. He hoisted himself up, grabbed a gnarled branch for balance, and found a knot of familiar footing to stand on. A square of darkness stared back at him. He reached forward and yanked up Edy’s window.
“Edy!” Hassan hissed. “You in there?”
She emerged from the shadows, hair in an oversized ponytail, pajamas ultra-pink and wrinkled, the epitome of a been-sleeping girl. Only, he knew better. She stared back at him, evenly, eyes wider in the night.
“What are you doing here?” he said. “Why aren’t you answering your phone? We’ve been looking for you. We didn’t know what to think.”
“I’m here because I live here. You can go back to your party now.”
“What? I can go back—” Hassan flared. “Why didn’t you say you wanted to leave? Mason would’ve taken you. Or Matt. I would have walked you, if nothing else.”
“I don’t need anyone to take me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m tired.”
But he couldn’t excuse her. Not like that. Her anger, whenever he earned it, sat with him, needling like a shoe that didn’t quite fit.
“Cake?” he said uncertainly.
His name for her. It had always been his name for her. But she jerked as if the word itself burned.
He needed to do something. To fix whatever was happening. Only . . . he hadn’t the faintest idea what was happening.
“Edy, please. If I did something, just tell me. ”
She ran fingers along the sill. They were long, slender, curving beauties that had climbed trees with him, and been laced with his a thousand times.
He had an urge to make it a thousand and one.
“Good night, Hassan,” Edy said.
She looked up at him with puffy eyes and closed the window between them.
“Night, Cake.” He whispered it to darkness.

Buy links

About the author:

Shewanda Pugh is a tomboy who credits Stephen King with being the reason she writes romance. In 2012 she debuted with the first novel in a three part contemporary adult romance series, Crimson Footprints. Since then, she's been shortlisted for the AAMBC Reader's Choice Award, the National Black Book Festival's Best New Author Award, and the Rone Award for Contemporary Fiction in 2012 and 2013. She has an MA in Writing from Nova Southeastern University and a BA in Political Science from Alabama A&M University. Though a native of Boston, MA, she now lives in Miami, FL, where she can soak up sun rays without fear of shivering. Her first young adult romance, Love Edy, is a coming of age tale that released on June 24th, 2014.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review of 'Matt Archer: Redemption' by Kendra C. HIghley

About the book:

Young Adult Paranormal
Date Published:
July 3, 2014

“There’s more to me than you know…”

When Matt Archer’s sister, Mamie, said those words to him three years ago, he had no idea how prophetic they were, or what this would mean for his family.

Now, he knows. And it changes everything, bringing the war right to Matt’s doorstep.

In the epic conclusion to the Matt Archer series, the endgame is near. Betrayed by an enemy, the wielders have been called off the hunt by their own government, despite increasing reports of paranormal activity—and deaths—worldwide. Matt is forced to sit on the sidelines, knowing that proving monsters exist means revealing who—and what—he is. Soon the world will know his name…which will only make his job harder.

Matt’s only hope resides with a man he barely knows—his father. If Erik Archer can put together the final puzzle before the monsters do, maybe they’ll have a chance. Maybe.

Mystery, tragedy and the power of family combine as Matt races to win the war and save the people he loves. There’s just one thing he’s afraid of…

It might already be too late.

Read an excerpt:

When I was fourteen, I picked up a knife, ignorant of the destiny that awaited me. That night seems like a lifetime ago, even if it’s only been three years.
A lot of things can change in three years.
A boy can become a man. A man can become a soldier. And that soldier can witness things he’ll never forget. Earn scars that won’t fade. Cut down enemies. Save lives.
Lose them, too.
Through it all, I’ve tried to remember who I am, where the legend ends and the man begins. Not to lose myself to my blade-spirit and become a monster. Some days are harder than others. I’ve seen friends die in this war, injured myself, and nearly lost the girl I love more than anyone, all for the cause. The price for being named the guardian of humanity is high, especially when my own government is calling me a criminal.
Despite all the obstacles, despite the pain, one thing remains true: it’s still worth the fight.
My name is Matt Archer. And I’m going to save the world.
Or die trying.

* * *

Packed into a black government SUV with five other people on the way to a Congressional hearing wasn’t my idea of fun.
That it was my reality made it even worse. Especially since riding with these particular men gave me a migraine of epic proportion. Being in close contact with the other knife-wielders always caused me pain. It was better than usual—I’d gotten used to the sensation of overwhelming power somewhat. Still, not the best way to start this day.
My new suit wasn’t heavy, but a trickle of sweat ran down my back the closer we got to the Capitol and my tie felt like it was trying to strangle me slowly. If I’d had my way, I’d be going to the hearing in bloodstained BDUs and my oldest combat boots—the ones with African sand still on them. The House Armed Services Committee wanted to call me a hardened juvenile delinquent? Fine, at least let me look the part.
Everybody else—except Will—told me that was a terrible idea. So Mom and Aunt Julie took me shopping and wrangled me into the suit. Complete with shiny new wingtips. I felt, and probably looked, very stupid.
“I heard CNN was going to carry C-SPAN live during the hearings,” Will said. He stared out the window with his shoulders bunched up around his ears. “Everyone in the world will know who we are after today.”
Everyone in the world would know…but how we’d be judged was the question. Would our accusers accept that everything we’d done was to protect and defend the defenseless? Or would we go down in flames, remembered by history as the very worst of violent offenders?
What worried me most was that the world wouldn’t learn the truth until it was too late: that the war wasn’t over. Pentagram Strike Force had been pulled off of active duty to participate in this political circus. Meanwhile, the Dark Master had gained a toehold in our world. The search for the Chinese shaman, our final lead—along with hunting the last two prime monsters—should’ve been our priority, and necessary to putting an end to the Master’s reign of terror. Instead we were here, sold out to Congress by the enemy’s favorite human servant.
As we made our way through the streets of D.C., Tink made a sullen noise in my head. I’ve never liked this place. Too many skeptics.
“Insulted some people don’t believe in you?” I asked, biting back a nervous smile. “Do we need to clap and bring you back to life?”
Will laughed, while Tink growled. The nickname is bad enough without the jokes, thank you very much.
The other wielders didn’t react. Parker was more pale than usual, and his freckles stood out like measles on his face. Ramirez glared out the window. Jorge had his hands folded in his lap and his eyes were closed, almost like he was praying.
“Anybody else coming to the party?” I asked.
“This is it, far as I know,” Parker said, the faintest hint of Alabama twang coming through. “We brought a couple of our guys as character witnesses, but they aren’t allowed to testify unless they’re called. So it’s just us.”
Ramirez flashed me a rare smile. “Murphy’s here.”
“I heard,” I said. “He’s driving my family over to the hearing.”
“He can’t wait to see you.” Now Ramirez was chuckling. “Said he’d watch as we do the walk of shame through the crowds at the Capitol.”
“Wait…crowds?” I asked. “What crowds?”
“Haven’t you been watching the news?” Parker raised an eyebrow. “That’s why we’re taking a caravan with draconian seating arrangements. They wanted the wielders to be the first out.”
“We gave up on watching the news a few days ago when that anchor on MSNBC called me and Matt ‘budding psychopaths,’ who’ve become trained killers,” Will said.
“You’re in for treat, then,” Parker said.
He wasn’t kidding. As we turned down First Street leading past the Capitol steps, people choked the sidewalks. Some had signs saying we were saviors. Some yelled that we worshiped Satan. Every single one of them watched the cars pass. We were sacrificial lambs, going to the slaughter, and it would all play out on television.
“This…is gonna suck,” Will said as an egg splattered against the SUV’s window.
“They can’t get near the entrance,” Johnson told him. “They have barriers holding everyone back.”
Yeah, because a little bit of plywood would be an excellent deterrent against mob violence.
We turned the corner on Independence, heading for the Sam Rayburn building. It was one of the House’s office buildings and where we’d have the hearing. You’d think the President was coming to visit, because we were led by a police car and followed by two motorcycle cops.
More people crowded the mall around the Capitol building and lined the streets all the way to our destination. Tink was jumpy, twitching around my skull. Instinctively, I reached for my knife handle, sheathed in my thigh pocket.
Ramirez’s eyes tracked the movement. “The knives have to stay in the car.”
“I thought they’d demand to see them,” I said.
“We don’t want members of Congress to get a hand on them, so the plan is to lock them up and leave them with Johnson.”
Being without my knife in tense situations usually caused me physical pain and leaving it behind sounded like torture. “But—”
“This is the only way we’ll be certain to get them back,” Ramirez said as he handed his knife to Johnson, looking as if it hurt to loosen the handle from his fingers. “General’s orders.”
We followed his lead. I set the blade in its metal box and locked it in. My head ached the instant contact was broken.
I’ll be nearby no matter what. You aren’t forsaken just because you aren’t wearing the knife, Tink said. All the same, don’t do anything stupid.
“Okay,” I murmured. Will whispered something similar and Captain Parker smiled at us. Instructions were universal sometimes.
A rap on the window announced the MPs’ arrival—military escort from the SUV to the hearing rooms. I didn’t know if that was for our protection, or to make us look more like criminals.
We slid out of the vehicle, all of us steely-eyed and standing erect. The MPs led us along the barricaded street. Cameras pointed our direction and reporters screamed questions. As of now, anonymity wasn’t a luxury I had anymore. Everywhere I looked, people were staring at us. I could almost hear the gasps of surprise zooming through Billings as our faces started showing up on television. Greenhill High was on fall break, but that only meant the news would travel faster.
The building itself was white stone, with two massive statues guarding the front door. Crowds of people surrounded them, pressed against the blue police barriers and jostling to get a better look.
As we headed for the stairs, someone shouted my name and the voice sent a shock wave through my chest. I stopped dead in my tracks and searched the crowd for the source, finding who I was looking for when I spotted a flash of auburn hair. I wasn’t sure how she’d gotten here…but I was sure she would be grounded for six months for coming.
Ella stood at the edge of the barrier, scowling at the MPs. I knew how she’d gotten such prime real estate—by holding a sign that read “No more monsters under your bed, courtesy of my boyfriend!”
Penn stood next to her, directing the crowd in a chant. Something about “stupid politicians.”
“What are they doing here?” I asked.
“No idea,” Will said.
Before the MPs could react, I ran for Ella. I heard Will pounding the pavement behind me, but she was all I saw. Ella dropped her sign and flung out her arms. We got in one long kiss before one my escorts put a hand on my arm.
“I can’t believe you came,” I told her in a rush.
She lifted her chin. “There’s no way I wouldn’t be here for you today.”
The MP’s grip tightened around my bicep. I dug my heels in. “I love you.”
A second MP had joined the first, tugging at my arms. As they dragged me away, she yelled, “I love you, too!”
The frenzy from the press got more chaotic, jostling to shove microphones in Ella’s face. The last thing I saw as the guards pushed me into the building was her granting interviews, looking like the queen of all she surveyed.
Our handlers led us to a small room off the hearing chambers. A few minutes later, my family showed up. My uncle and his wife, Colonel and Captain Tannen, came in first, followed by General Richardson. Not long after, Mom, Mamie and Brent arrived. Mamie looked anxious, twirling a pigtail around her finger, but Mom was angry. The night she’d found out about the hearings…well, I’d never seen her that pissed off, and her mood hadn’t improved much over the last few weeks. She paced the room, looking like she wanted to punch something really hard.
Once we were all settled, Army counsel gave us last minute pointers. Mom glared at him several times, finally saying, “Enough. You’re making them nervous.” She put her hand on my shoulder. “Tell the truth. That’s all you can do. Don’t let them twist your words.”
I would do my best, because I needed to focus on getting through the proceedings without slipping up. If I did, Uncle Mike, Badass Aunt Julie and General Richardson could lose their jobs. Or go to jail for endangering minors. Take your pick.
The general and Uncle Mike talked quietly in one corner, wearing their Class As. It was the first time since his wedding that I’d seen my uncle in full dress uniform. The large section of commendation ribbons on his jacket made him look impressive and I stared longingly at the uniform. I hated being in this suit. I belonged in uniform, but when I begged to enlist with Mom’s permission, no one had gone for it.
“You wouldn’t complete basic in time for the hearings,” Captain Johnson had said.
Mike had ground his teeth a full minute before adding, “Before he died, you promised Colonel Black you’d go to West Point. Stay the course and we’ll get you there.”
Mom’s answer was even simpler. “No.”
So here Will and I were, looking awkward in coat and tie, as if this was some joke of a graduation ceremony instead of a moment that would decide the fates of every single person in this room. I tugged at my collar, wondering if it would suffocate me before the hearing was over.
Mamie touched my hand. Brent loomed behind her, an ever present watchman to keep our sister out of harm’s way. Despite the gravity of our situation, she smiled. “Go get ‘em, Tiger.”
And so I was laughing when someone knocked. A House page about Mamie’s age stuck his head in. The guy eyed Will and me warily, then said, “I’m here to escort you to the proceedings.”
The general stood. “All right, gentlemen. Time to go.”

**My thoughts**

I didn't want to read this book. I've been waiting for it to come, yet dreading it at the same time. I didn't want this series to end. 

What drew me in from the very beginning with the Matt Archer series is its uniqueness. The first book came out in the middle of an onslaught of vampire books. Everyone was trying to create their own hero or heroine who was a vampire slayer. Kendra chose monsters. Though these monsters are complete fiction, they seem completely real as you read about them. The military action sequences also feel real. I could see every slash and every attack unfold in my mind, as if I were watching a movie. I got to know every character as intimately as my own friends and family. I laughed and I cried with every one of them. I rejoiced in their successes and mourned their losses. When reading a Matt Archer book, I was a part of their world.

Many times when you reach the end of a series, that final book seems almost anti-climactic. I have noticed that especially in trilogies. This five-book series didn't end with that flop. I hate the use of the word epic, but it seems fitting when describing the culmination of events. I was kept on the edge of my seat, knowing what was going to happen, yet not completely sure. I had to choke back a few tears. I felt the exhilaration and the pain, all rolled into one. I felt like it ended as it should. I am going to miss this series and these characters, yet can see myself going back to reread them all some day.

To the author I say, well done. I look forward to your next series.

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About the author:

Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.

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