Thursday, April 30, 2015

'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian' by Sherman Alexie


Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike. 

I'm not sure what to think. There doesn't seem to be enough to judge. This book is so short. There isn't much for me to write about. Not to me at least.  
This is a mini review. And it's extremely short. 

I like Junior. He is an interesting character. He tries his hardest to stand up. He tries his hardest to be special. And he is. His world is drunks and death and being different. He is smart and talented. I think that's what makes him different. 
I think a major part of Junior changes. And I like that. He gains confidence. Bravery. That's amazing. Before he was Just-a-Geeky-Guy Junior. Then he's a basketball star? Someone who left the rez? It makes him popular in two ways the bad and good. 

There doesn't seem to be much plot. The story is about Junior at school. And playing basketball. And I didn't see much of anything else. It wasn't a dull plot. Boring. Not didn't happen. I read it quickly. I wasn't clutching the book. Or rocking back and forth curled up in a ball. The story was just there. Not dramatic. Not action-y. Just there. 

The story doesn't hold back, though. It has some very real characters. The depressed (or something along those lines) sister. An angry best friend. Family. Love. Awkward people. And it's awesome. I like that. 

The ending is nice. It's...sweet. A good friendship. Playing games. It's a nice ending. But not a good one. It was dull. And since when did Junior start caring? I don't know. I feel like there should have been closure. Not friendship.

Sunny with 50% chance of rain

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

'Life Unaware' by Cole Gibsen: Release Day Blitz

Life Unaware
Release Date: 04/28/15
Entangled Teen

Book Summary:
Regan Flay has been talking about you. 

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother's "plan" for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she's ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school. 

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah. 
The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend's hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan's going through, but whatnobody knows is that Regan isn't really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she's barely holding it together under her mom's pressure. But the consequences of Regan's fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched... 

Especially Regan Flay.

About the Author
Cole Gibsen first realized she different when, in high school, she was still reading comic books while the other girls were reading fashion magazines.

It was her love of superheroes that first inspired her to pick up a pen. Her favorite things to write about are ordinary girls who find themselves in extraordinary situations.

Author Links:
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Monday, April 27, 2015

'Midnight City' by J Barton Mitchell


Lord of the Flies meets  War of the Worlds in  J. Barton Mitchell's  alien-invaded post-apocalyptic world  where  two teens and a youngc girl with amazing powers must stop the aliens’ mysterious plan
Earth has been conquered by an alien race known as the Assembly. The human adult population is gone, having succumbed to the Tone---a powerful, telepathic super-signal broadcast across the planet that reduces them to a state of complete subservience. But the Tone has one critical flaw. It only affects the population once they reach their early twenties, which means that there is one group left to resist: Children.

Holt Hawkins is a bounty hunter, and his current target is Mira Toombs, an infamous treasure seeker with a price on her head. It’s not long before Holt bags his prey, but their instant connection isn’t something he bargained for. Neither is the Assembly ship that crash-lands near them shortly after. Venturing inside, Holt finds a young girl who remembers nothing except her name: Zoey.

As the three make their way to the cavernous metropolis of Midnight City, they encounter young freedom fighters, mutants, otherworldly artifacts, pirates, feuding alien armies, and the amazing powers that Zoey is beginning to exhibit. Powers that suggest she, as impossible as it seems, may just be the key to stopping the Assembly once and for all. 

Midnight City is the breathtaking first book of the Conquered Earth series.

I love the characters. They're all really interesting. Neither of them are the same. They have special personalities. Great ones. And special powers. 
Colt is brave. He's strong too. He has a motto. Survive. And his past is dark. His sister especially. I like that. Colt is a great guy. A nice guy even. He pretends like he doesn't care. But he does. I like this tough guy not really character. It's pretty awesome. I've sucker for tough characters. They have secrets. Reasons for being tough. Colt's is his sister. And he becomes more and more fascinating. He is someone else. A caring person. A loving person even. And that's amazing. 
Mira is smart. I love her cocky personality. She's such a cool person. And she is dangerous. And wicked smart. I like her personality. She's brave and daring. But she has secrets. Secrets in Midnight City. Demons in Midnight City. She has to accept them. And she's slowly turning towards the Tone. She's a fighter. Mira fights. Plus, she uses her knowledge like a sword. How to use different artifacts. How to take different artifacts. (Ehem. Chance Generator.) 
Zoey is fascinating. There is just something about her. It's not her childish personality. Well...maybe. Her childish personality contradicts her words and the feelings. It's as if she doesn't care. I'm not sure who Zoey is. She's childish, but she has the feelings. (Which I think is the Tone talking to her.) Who is Zoey? Is she Heedless? Is she human? (Was she never human to begin with?) There are so many questions. (Don't worry. You'll find out something later.) 

The plot is great. Fast-paced. Mysterious. Daring. It's fascinating. 
The story kept me going. I want to read more. The action is good too. It was fast. The characters were fighters. That made their fights better. (If that makes sense.) The plot also reveals things about all three characters. Emily. Ben. And the Apex. All these things are revealed. They change the characters which change their actions which affects the plot. 
I do think there is a problem, though. They don't really go outside of Midnight City. Why is that? They don't think about running until it's too late. I feel like Mira could have avoided this by leaving. (Or not returning.) Then wouldn't find out part of Zoey's backstory. And the inhabitants of Midnight City are all focused on their Points. Is that resemblance to today's society? We're all in love with our money. Is that implying anything? I'm unsure of the truth. I want to say this is an economic thing. Not sure, though. 

The romance isn't bad. It's kinda cute actually. I'm a huge fan of enemy-turned-lover. (I don't know why.) And this is a good example of it. I like how the characters don't rush. It's slow and gentle. And it's not you can't see the chemistry. It's definitely there. You can see it.
What I don't like is that Holt seems fixated on Mira's physical attributes. I think it's okay for the emerald we this. That's important to the story, the Tone and all. I get it. Nice lady figure means you likey. Okay okay. But really? Physical looks aren't all that important. Not to me, at least.

I actually liked the premise. The world has ended. There is the Tone. The only people exempt? Children and the Heedless. We have Mira and Holt. A Freebooter and a bounty hunter. And Zoey. They are all interesting characters. The story has many terms. Freebooter. Spiders. Osprey. Many things. And the world is different. There are stories with alien types. But this story is different. 

The What a surprise. What a reveal. I loved the ending. In a way. This story was so open ended. Lots of things could happen. Or not happen. Seems interesting, right? Indeed. I think the ending really highlights Zoey's importance. And how she is more powerful than anyone else. 

Sunny with a few clouds

Friday, April 24, 2015

'School of Death's by Christopher Mannino: Blog Tour

School of Deaths
Release Date: 05/02/14
270 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?

Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.

Scythes hungry for souls, Deaths who subjugate a race of mysterious magicians, and echoes of an ancient war with Dragons.

As her year progresses, Suzie suspects her presence isn't an accident. She uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must also discover the reason she's been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

Buy Links:

About the Author
Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet.  He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland.  In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance/production drama groups.  He spends his summers writing and singing.  Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University.  His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life.  

Mannino is currently working on a sequel to “School of Deaths” as well as an adult science fiction novel.

Author Links:

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

'Soaring Through Stars' by Rajdeep Paulus: Release Day Celebration

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by Gwendolyn Womack

Release Day Celebration

Hosted by MMSAI Tours

April 23rd

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Release Date: April 23rd, 2015

Publisher:  Birch House Press


“I live in the in between. Between holding on and letting go. Hurt clings to 

me. Hope teases me. Home. I can’t explain it, but sometimes, I just want to 

go home.”

Talia and Jesse Vanderbilt have escaped a childhood full of abuse, and when 

they have a chance to put their father behind bars, setbacks arise from every 

direction. The siblings can't help but consider the option to walk away and 

move on with their lives.

Then someone unexpected brings his own secrets, forcing the Vanderbilt 

teens to revisit their pasts and rethink their plans. Through it all, Lagan and 

Talia’s Post-it love story blossoms, while Jesse and Summer hit roadblocks. 

From the award-winning author of Swimming Through Clouds and Seeing Through Stones comes a 

powerful story of freedom and belonging in this final book of the young adult trilogy that began with an 

invitation on a little Post-it note.   










“Soaring through Stars is a beautiful, perfect ending to a truly exceptional series… Don’t miss this one.” 

~USA Today’s HEA Blog, Serena Chase

“Rajdeep Paulus writes young adult fiction with a new kind of hero… compassionate at moments when it 

would be much easier to stand by and do nothing.” 

~Amazon Author Success Story

“The Swimming Through Clouds series is an incredible story of the strength of true love and the power 

of courage. Talia, Lagan, and Jesse will sneak into your heart and stay there long after you read the last 

line.” ~Amalie Howard, bestselling IndieNext author of Alpha Goddess

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Rajdeep Paulus is an Award-winning author of Swimming Through Clouds and 

Seeing Through Stones. Rajdeep studied English Literature at Northwestern 

and lives in New York with her Sunshine and four princesses.


1 Winner wins Blue Swarovski crystal heart charm on silver chain (U.S. Residents Only)

1 Winner wins Paperbacks of the trilogy – THREE BOOKS (U.S. Residents Only) 

3 Winners win Ebooks of Swimming Through Clouds (Book One)


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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

'The Wicked Will Rise' by Danielle Paige


In this dark, high-octane sequel to the New York Times bestsellingDorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm must do everything in her power to kill Dorothy and free Oz.

To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die....

But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn't wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked?

Alright. Amy seems off. She doesn't seem like Amy. Amy rebels. This Amy, though. She was sinister. Cruel. I don't think I like it. No. I don't like it. As much as anti-heroes are interesting, Amy is just turning wicked. I won't say that there isn't any intrigue in that; there is definitely something making me read on. But Amy is a person with morals. She has the gut feeling to be good. But this has been twisted. I feel like this new Amy is a monster as everyone else sees her as. I can't say I see her that way. I want to say I see her as a monster. But as a fellow monster, in a way, I can't help but sympathize with her.
I like that she's changing. The magic is changing her. All her actions tell a different story. She might have good intentions, but the magic is tainting her words and actions. Perhaps she is turning into another Dorothy. Maybe she'll be another Wizard. I don't know. But the author can go down many routes, choose from a multitude of options. 
Ozma is great. She is powerful. And her secret is amazing. I think Ozma should have been expanded on more. She's not just a ditzy fairy princess who has no brains. She's smart. Wise. Powerful. Ozma can control Oz. No. Let me rephrase that. Ozma is Oz. She really is. Oz is Oz in a being form. Which I think is amazing. I like Ozma. What I like more is her secrets and her hidden power. Both are amazing. 

The plot was dull. I admit that. There wasn't much happening. Everything that did happen was minor. The story didn't have much to contribute to the overall plot. The book seemed, like many second books, to just be a middle man between the first book and the third. (The first typically being the best. So far, this series is following this plan. Wonder how book threw will be like...) 
Sure. We had battles. Head-on battles. And I like that we had those battles against Dorothy. It showed that Dorothy is really powerful, but Amy is also...well...getting to be really powerful. But these battles didn't reveal anything we DIDN'T know. We know Dorothy is powerful. We know Amy is becoming powerful. We know that. We didn't find out anything. It just doesn't seem like anything is revealed. 
The secrets are great. Major secrets. I'm adding this with plot because the plot forces the characters to find the secrets. The secret of Oz? Perfect. Love it. The Ozma secret? Nice. That was surprising. Truly. And everything that happens BECAUSE of the secrets? Makes me just want to grin. This book has some astounding secrets. Surprising. Shocking. Secrets you can never predict. 

The romance. Oh goodness. I don't understand it. You two barely know each other. I honestly hoped that Nox would rebuff Amy. Because please, who needs that? Nox, you even SAID that the revolution is first. And don't you want to protect Oz? Isn't that more important? I know there isn't a lot of romance. (It's because neither of them meet for a majority of the book.) What I don't get is this...why are you two trying? I don't see chemistry. Or anything. Just focus on the rebellion. Things will be fine. It's not like Amy can go anywhere anymore. Just stop the ogling and get to the action! 

The ending is vague. But I like the cliffhanger. I'm not sure I'll like waiting for the next book, though. (When is waiting for a book any fun?) I think the cliffhanger is interesting. But so much happens at the drowns out the rest of the book. Nothing happens in the rest of the book. Then bam! The ending comes, and you're given lots of information. Cue the soft weeping. 
I feel like this series could be lumped into a huge book. The endings are too vague and open ended. I wanted something more concrete. As if the book doesn't have to be a series. With every single ending in this series so far, I feel like there is something missing. More closure, I guess. 

I just wanted so much more from this book. Truly. The idea seemed great. I'm sad to admit that this book does seem like the two-star book everyone else says it is... Sorry... 

Foggy with a 60% chance of rain

Monday, April 20, 2015

'Twisted' by Holly Hook: Blitz

by Holly Hook 
Release Date: 12/15/13

Summary from Goodreads:
This novel will be released on December 15, 2013.

Sixteen-year-old Allie isn’t like other girls. Instead of spending her summer break sitting around on the beach, she takes the epic vacation of a lifetime.

Tornado chasing.

And she’s not disappointed. Just a few miles from the town of Evansburg, Nebraska, Allie meets her dream of seeing a tornado. In person. She can’t wait to tell her friends back home. Never mind that her parents are going to kill her.

But her dream soon turns into a nightmare, and a strange event leaves her shocked. Confused. When she returns home to Wisconsin, something’s…different. Allie now bears a curse so awful, it could destroy everyone and everything she’s ever known.

With her best friend, Tommy, Allie must return to the plains to find a way to reverse it. She enters a world that she had never imagined, where she becomes a pawn in a fight to save the people of Evansburg from her fate…or to destroy them.

Buy links:
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Chapter One

My very first tornado shreds the grass of the plains.
I stand next to the van, mouth dropping open, heart pounding.  It's the moment I've been waiting for.  I’ve saved the money for years and begged my uncle to book us for the Wild Weather Storm Chasing Tours.
Uncle Cassius gasps next to me, equally in awe.  It barely cuts over the wind rushing towards the distant funnel.  Waves of grass bow down to the twister, whipped down by the surrounding air flying in to feed it.  The perfect white cone stands out against the coal sky, slim and graceful.  A skirt of dust spins around its base, signaling its dance through a field a few miles away.  The wind snaps against my jeans, pulling at my new Wild Weather Tours T-shirt.
"Beautiful!"  Kyle, our storm chaser guide, snaps a photo for his website.  He steals a glance at me and smiles.  The wind ruffles his ash-blond hair.  Wrinkles form around his eyes.  He's all enthusiasm, joy that we've found our prey. "Don't worry.  We're safe.  It's heading to the east.  It'll pass no closer than a couple of miles to our north."
I want his job someday.
"I'm not scared," I said, but my shaky voice betrays me.  Who am I kidding?  Kyle's an experienced chaser--twenty years--but this is a real tornado.  In person.  Live.  I never realized it would be this intense, this breathtaking.  A hollow feeling fills my stomach like I'm plunging down the first hill of a roller coaster.  It is scary…but fun.
My parents would murder me and Uncle Cassius both for sneaking away on this trip.  If they find out we’re not really in Disney World being bored to death by Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, well, it’ll be way scarier than this storm. 
The tornado curves, almost like it's leaning to the side for a better look at something.  At us?  It's a weird thought, one that makes me laugh.  The thunderstorm spins slowly above it, low and menacing.  Thunder claps.  It's enough to remind me that the storm in front of me isn't just beautiful.  It's a predator, entrancing like a cobra and ready to strike.
Good thing there's no houses or buildings in its way.  Only farmland stretches from horizon to horizon. 
"Allie.  Forget your camera?"  Uncle Cassius points to my pocket and smiles.  It’s a tense smile.  So I'm not the only one with some nerves going.
Yes.  Duh.
I pull it out of my pocket and fumble with the slim case, fingers hunting for the button.  The camera zings to life.  Behind it, the tornado looms a bit larger, gaining strength and racing across the ground.  More dust kicks up around the perfect white of the twister. 
"Now I can really prove to everyone at school how crazy I am."  I give Uncle Cassius a nervous chuckle.  The camera trembles in my hands as I catch the tornado in my view, click, and seal it in my memory forever.
I'm having the most insane summer vacation of my entire high school.  I can’t wait to share this with Tommy and Bethany.  Bethany’s going to beg for all the details.  Tommy will tell me that I’m the bravest, most awesome girl he knows. 
I’ve got to get me and the tornado in the same picture and send it to them tonight.  I dig in my other pocket and hand my phone to Uncle Cassius.  “Photo.” 
He takes my phone.  “Stand back.”
I do.  Now the wind blows my hair back like it’s trying to pull me away, but I stand there, moving to the side so Uncle Cassius can get the whole picture.  I force myself to look at my phone in his hand.  It’s not easy when there’s a twister just a mile or two behind me, ripping up the earth.
“Got it!”  Uncle Cassius waves me back. 
I join him and glance at the phone for just a second.  I’m on the screen, dark hair wild and flying.  The tornado looms large behind me like it’s looking over my shoulder.  It’s the most awesome picture ever.  Tommy’s going to love it. 
I lift my camera for another shot, backing up to squeeze the tornado into the viewport.  I click another picture and lower the camera again for another look.
My heart jumps.
The tornado looms larger, taller.  Kyle holds his hand up to his face, squinting for a better view.  Even Uncle Cassius goes quiet, stiffening and taking a step back towards the tour van.
All at once I understand.
The tornado has changed course.
Kyle turns.  Real fear widens his features. 
"Get in the van," he shouts.
I turn and grab the door, yanking it open.  Uncle Cassius pushes me from behind, making me vault into the van.  “Get in, Allie!”
The roar behind me builds, like boulders rushing down a mountain towards me.  The wind whips my hair back, trying to pull me back out of the van.  It feels like the twister's right behind me already, coming down for the kill.
I slam the door on it.  Uncle Cassius moves out of my view, running around the van to the other door.  The funnel's much bigger behind the window, so close that I can't see the top of it anymore. 
Uncle Cassius jumps in through the opposite door and snaps on his seat belt next to me.  Kyle starts the van up, punches the gas, and gets us back on the road to nowhere.
I put my camera on the seat.  My hands fumble with the seat belt.  The van speeds up and the inertia makes me sink into my seat.  Uncle Cassius says something else, but it’s lost on me.  The specter of the tornado closes in, whipping across the field towards us.  I've heard of tornadoes making sudden turns like this but I never realized it could happen this fast. 
It rips across the field.  My heart beats on a runaway course.  My mind locks into overdrive.  I feel like that news crew they always have on tornado shows, that one that survived by hiding under that overpass.  Will Kyle make us get out and climb under one?  They're actually bad places to hide.  That news crew got off lucky.  Kyle knows better.  He's been chasing storms longer than I’ve been alive.
Only green and yellow fields spread out ahead.  There’s no shelter for miles.  The storm radar on Kyle's laptop is covered in ugly red and orange blotches like Nebraska has sores. 
A hole of panic opens up inside me and for the first time, I regret coming on this vacation.
"Can't you go faster?"  Uncle Cassius leans forward in his seat, gaze hard, arms trembling.  His glasses are coming down his nose, ready to fall off.  His normally neat Yoda T-shirt is sweaty and sticking to him so much I can see his ribs.
Uncle Cassius never loses his cool.
Not even when I crawled into the dinosaur display at the museum when I was six and climbed up the back of the Stegosaurus.  Not even when I tried to stand on his porch when I was eleven and watch hail the size of tennis balls rain from the sky.
Outside, the tornado grows so close that I can only see the bottom half of the funnel.  The van bounces along every speed bump on the highway, every uneven spot.  My stomach heaves.  I'm going to be sick right here.  It's my stupid fault we're in this mess. 
"I don't understand."  Kyle punches the gas harder, making the van jump.  He turns his head like a guy possessed by a demon, eyes widening.  "The tornado should not be moving this way."
He's right.  It shouldn't.  For the tornado to turn and come right at us, it would have to drag the whole storm with it.  But it’s still coming.  It makes no sense.
The funnel reaches the road behind us, twisting harder, kicking up earth higher and higher.  We've gotten out in front of it.  I breathe a sigh of relief.  Kyle and Uncle Cassius do the same.  It'll cross the road and forget all about us. 
Kyle lets off the gas a little and the whine of the engine calms some.  "We're safe now.  That was highly unusual.  I've never seen a tornado turn like that in my career."  There's a hint of an apology in his voice.
"Well, that was a close one, wasn't it, Allie?"  Uncle Cassius hugs me from the side. 
"Yeah," I say, willing my heart to slow down.  At least I can think straight now.  Can I even do another two days of this? 
Wow, what a dumb idea this was.
But I still can't resist another look at the storm.  I turn as far as my seat belt allows.
My guts fall out of me all over again.
The tornado's still on the road, bigger than ever.  It can't be. 
The twister has turned again.  It's coming right up behind us.  Rolling earth eats the entire highway.  There's tornado taking up the whole view of the back window.  Dust rips to the sides.  The bottom of its funnel spins with fury, big enough to swallow a house whole.  Its roar screams against the outside of the vehicle, shaking the seat, pushing the whole van to the side. 
It's no longer beautiful.
"Ohmigod," I say, sucking in a breath.  "Um…Kyle?  Um…”
"I know!" he snaps.  His knuckles turn white on the steering wheel.  The van lurches again but he maintains control. 
"Allie, get down!"  Uncle Cassius pulls me towards him.  The seat belt cuts into my shoulder. 
What good is it going to do?  If the tornado lifts the car--
I'm going to die.
I begged to go on this trip and now Uncle Cassius is going to die too. 
The windows shatter with a deafening boom and the wind screams in my ears.  AllieAllieAllieAllie…
I can't breathe. 
We're floating.
Uncle Cassius shouts something.  Kyle yells.  If I'm screaming, I can't tell.  The storm's sucking it right out of me.  Windy hands seize my arms, my legs. 
They pull.
My safety belt snaps open, whipping against my leg.  I scream with the sting.  The seat disappears under me and the van door rips open.
I'm flying.
The tornado's ripping me right out of the van.
The world turns to a white and brown roar.  The van's gone.  I have no time to cry out to Uncle Cassius before the world snaps to black and silence swallows me.

Chapter Two

"Kind of unusual to get a teen girl in."
It's a man speaking with a faint Southern drawl.  He's close but distant in the darkness.  I can't tell where, exactly.  There's not much of me left to think right now.
I’m on my back.  Floating.   
"It doesn’t matter."  This speaker's a woman, with a voice so smooth it might be made of silk.  There's something about it that seems familiar and not in a good way.  "It’s another one closer to our goal."
"Well, not too many girls go out and chase.  Just saying."
Go out and chase.  What does that mean?
I groan and climb a couple of steps into consciousness.  I'm still lying face-up, but there’s nothing under me.  No, two people are carrying me.  Hands grasp my ankles.  Someone else has their hands under my armpits.  Grass tickles my back.  I’m facing the sky. 
I manage to open my eyes.  They're sore, stinging as the sunlight stabs into them. 
A man with a gray beard and overalls has my ankles.  He’s walking backwards, carrying me along.  If I was lying in bed, he’d be at the foot of it.  I can’t see the woman, but she keeps her arms locked under my armpits, supporting me, keeping me above the ground.  They’re carrying me the way two people would carry a heavy table. 
My limbs ache.  Invisible needles poke at every muscle in my neck.  I turn my head.  Groan.  The sky's clear, with only a few steamy white clouds moving out.  The sun beats down on me, forcing me to squint.  I breathe in.  The air's muggy like it's just finished raining. 
Or storming.
Oh, god.
The tornado.
I survived and these people must have found me.
I crane my neck back and look up at the woman who has my arms.  It’s no easy task.
She's upside down to me, swaying back and forth and making me motion sick.  She's way too thin to be carrying me without breaking a sweat.  I can only make out her chin.  Long brown hair hangs over the top of her white summer dress.  Something about her makes my insides crawl.  A gremlin way back in the confines of my mind waves its arms and screams at me, but I can't make out what it's saying.
The rest of me wakes up, and with thoughts of Uncle Cassius.
A fist of terror squeezes my heart so tight that I cry out.  I squirm in their grasps.  "My uncle," I manage.  "Have you seen him?"
The woman's chin faces forward.  She's ignoring me.  She shoots the man a look, but he shakes his head.  "No need," he says. 
"Tornado," I say.  "My uncle.  It got the van.  He was in there.  Have you seen him?"
Panic takes over and I thrash, not caring if these people just saved my life.  "Where is my uncle?  Did you see him?  He might have got thrown out of the van.  We just got hit by a tornado.  A tornado, for crap’s sake!"  Nothing.  I kick, trying to loosen my legs from the farmer's grip.  "Let go.  I can walk on my own!”
"I didn't expect her to wake up so soon," the woman says.  “I was hoping she wouldn’t.”
I twist my arm.  It doesn’t budge from her grip.  "Let me down!  Where's my uncle?"
Again, no answer.  They walk faster and tall grass slaps at my back, poking in through the gap between my shirt and my jeans.  The sun beats down on my eyes.  The last of the clouds drift away, leaving no cover from its spotlight.  A building bounces into the bottom of my vision, covered in crumbling red paint.  Its roof sags on one side.  An old barn.  I've seen dozens back home in Wisconsin.  This one looks ready to blow down the next time a grasshopper sneezes.
“Are you taking me to the hospital?  And my uncle too?”
“Faster,” the woman says.
The barn draws closer.  An open door looms dark and empty ahead of me.  The musty smell of hay and dirt assaults my nostrils.  They're taking me in there. 
These people aren't saving me after all.
They're kidnappers. 
There's no other reason for this.  They must be psychos like those mutant hillbillies from that one movie.  The barn's going to be full of jars of eyes and noses and all sorts of sharp, scary farm tools.   
"What are you doing?" I yell, hoping that someone, anyone can hear me way out here.  My throat burns with the force of my screaming.  “Did you see anyone else where you found me?”
The barn blocks out the sun and I'm in darkness.
“Uncle Cassius!”
There’s no light except for pinpricks that shine through the old walls and a circle of blue sky at the peak of the barn's roof.  I blink and my eyes adjust.  The floor's clean, perfect concrete.  All the hay’s been swept up against the walls.  No bloodstains.  It doesn’t reassure me as much as I want, though.
"Lay her down," the woman orders.  It's clear she's in charge here.
They lift me higher.  The roof gets closer for a second.  They move me to the side and set me back down.  My back meets a table with a cloth on it.  Or a slab.  I’m not sure.  I’m still looking up.  The woman keeps her grip on my arms, pushing down tight enough to keep me from breaking away.  The man does the same with my ankles.  They’re holding me down to some kind of altar or slab or something.  The hole in the ceiling lets a beam of light down.  It lands on my chest, forming a ring of light on my Wild Weather T-shirt.  Or is it a target?
I bite my lip, keeping the screams in.  I can't let them know I'm scared.  It's what psychotic people want when they do this stuff.  I have to keep my cool and find a way out of here. 
"Okay," I say, trying to collect myself.  "Why are you holding me here?  In case you haven't noticed, I just survived a tornado and my uncle's missing.  I want some answers."
The woman looks down at me, keeping her elbows locked and holding down my arms.  She's strong, way stronger than she should be, and her face is smooth and sharp in a way that's borderline creepy.  It almost looks like a mask.  "You're about to join the family that you've always wanted."
The words stun me into silence.  They make no sense.  These people are nuts.  Insane.  I have the family I want. 
And if I don’t get out of here, my parents will remember me as a liar.  I’ll leave them with nothing but pain and betrayal.  And Uncle Cassius--
"I need to find my uncle.  Now!"  I glare up at the woman, making my neck cry out in pain.  She stares down at me with eyes that match her hair color.  Her face is unreadable, blank.  Something's very familiar about her.  "I need to call my mom and dad.  Why are you holding me here?”
The woman blinks.  "Because you're drawn to the fury of nature.” 
"So what?" I thrash against their grips.  "Why do you even care?  Let me out of this disgusting barn.”
A million awful possibilities race through my mind, all of them the stuff of nightmares.  I stare at the circle of light above me, praying for the barn to come down on my captors' heads, praying for anything to happen. 
"Be quiet," the woman orders.  She closes her eyes.  Mutters something.  Bows her head down in reverence. 
Wind snaps through the barn.  The hole in the roof darkens from robin's egg to gray-blue, then to black.  It grows in size, taking up more and more of the roof.  The shingles vaporize before my eyes, flying away and breaking into millions of pieces until nothing's left above me but a ceiling of thunderstorm.  Clouds roll and push against each other, aimless, so close that if my arms were free, I might be able to stand on the table and brush them.  The air roars and trembles.
"What--" I start.
A paralysis steals over my body, freezing me, turning me to stone.  The clouds above begin to twist.  They're in the barn with us, blocking out the world above.  My heart races, and for a moment I'm back in that van, floating, flying. 
The dam holding back my terror breaks and I let it all out.
"Uncle Cassius!"  I look side to side in the vain hope that he'll be there, running in to get me out of this, but only darkness closes in.  The old man grits his teeth, holding down my legs.  The woman does likewise, eyes closed so tight her face wrinkles.  
"Somebody!"  My screams echo off the walls.
The clouds above spin faster, tightening, forming a cone that points at my heart.  A roar fills the barn, threatening to tear it apart.  It’s the same roar I heard on the other side of my blackout.
It's a miniature tornado, but it's somehow more terrifying than the one that chased the van.  It descends, hungry, spinning faster and faster.  The strength of the sky drains straight towards me.
The funnel of rage lingers inches above my heart as if making a decision.
I scream.
And scream.
The cone slams into my chest.
My body lurches.  The storm drives its way in, building the pressure inside me and sucking the breath from my lungs.  My captors release my arms, but it's too late.  The clouds grow lower, the tornado shorter, as it all forces its way into me, down my arms to my fingertips, my legs to my toes.  The storm rages inside, pushing against the borders of my body.  I close my eyes, willing it to stop, wanting to scream but unable--
My body trembles.  I lift my arm and it flops to my chest.  They’ve let go of me.  I can move now.  Run for it.  I open my eyes, catching a glimpse of the hole in the roof once again, and try to stand.
Instead, I fall.   Concrete meets me.  All the strength's gone from my body.  I gag.  Heave.  My stomach rolls.  The world fades, turning gray and darkening to black.
"What did you do to me?" I manage, slipping away.
A hand grabs the back of my shirt.  "Very soon," the woman says.  "You'll know."

About the Author
Holly Hook is the author of the Destroyers Series, which consists of five young adult books about teens who are walking disasters...literally. She is also the author of the Rita Morse series, a young adult fantasy series still in progress, and After These Messages, a short ya comedy. Currently she is writing Twisted, a spin-off of the Destroyers Series due out in December. When not writing, she enjoys reading books for teens, especially ya fantasy and paranormal series with a unique twist.

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