Today is a big day for e-published books. While some rush to the mall to return unwanted sweaters, new owners of e-readers are loading them up with literary goodies. There’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday — December 26th is in need of a snappy nickname to indicate its new importance to publishers — commercial, small press, and self-published alike. E-Day? Unboxing Day? Download Day? Any other ideas?
Early this morning, I learned that BN.com had accidentally shipped out The Fault in Our Stars, which will be published on January 10th, to many people who’d preordered the book. Although efforts are being made to stop shipments wherever possible, some of these people will likely receive the book…
This is the time of year when I feel like the most popular girl in email land! My inbox explodes as friends and family begin their hunt for perfect gift books. After typing up the same list a few times, I thought, “why not share my favorites on my blog?”
First, a few stats: I read seventy-eight “traditionally” published books , seven manuscripts as a beta reader, and twenty-one self-published books for a grand total of 106.
That’s a lot of books. Not as many as the most prolific readers I know, but more than the average American reader (I’ve seen this number set anywhere from three to fifteen).
My favorites (bold denotes one of my all-time favorites):
It’s a YA heavy list, but a few straddle adult/young adult line: Finnikin, Froi, Where She Went, and Forbidden.
Out of these, The Boyfriend Thief was a surprise. It’s a self-published book that’s deserves a wider audience.
Chime and Imaginary Girls have gorgeous prose. Anna is probably the most adorable YA contemporary book I’ve ever read. Perfect for younger readers while still appealing to the *ahem* more mature YA reader.
And please don’t forget my book, Larkstorm. It’s now available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon and can be gifted as an ebook.
The ebook is now available on Amazon and Smashwords. We’re still waiting on Barnes and Noble. HOWEVER, Smashwords sells a variety of formats including those compatible with the Nook, Kobo, Sony reader and iBooks.
Eric, Chad, Ian, and Tim review and discuss the films HUGO, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, THE DESCENDANTS, and THE MUPPETS. We push our liberal agenda in the news section, and we discuss films that harbor great acting performances from kids in the “Child’s Play” segment.
“B?” I call. A deafening silence answers. My heart races and fear courses through my veins. The sick feeling intensifies and I grab at my stomach. Please, please Bethina, please be here. Hunched forward, I run ahead of my housemates, toward the kitchen.
The fully lit kitchen is abandoned. A pot of water boils on the burner. A cookie sheet of biscuits has been flung haphazardly on the counter.
Terrified, I march through the throng of students in front of me. Their scared whispers fill the air. Once past them, I sprint from room to room searching. “Bethina!” I yell.
“Bethina! Where are you?”
Room after room, empty. I begin to believe the unbelievable - that Bethina is gone - when I see her sitting in the oversized striped chair in the living room, not moving. So still she looks almost asleep, except her eyes are open. Open but not really seeing. She’s just staring.
“B?” I ask softly, but she doesn’t answer. I grab her shoulders and shake her.
“Bethina! Are you okay?”
All the others have joined us. The confused group looks to me, as if I should know what’s going on.
The melting snow from our shoes and hats puddles onto the wood floor. I force myself to calm down and take a deep breath. I step back from Bethina into the semi-circle my housemates have formed in front of the chair and survey the scene. Not knowing what to do, I raise my hand and slap Bethina sharply across the face.
“Bethina!” I scream, becoming more frightened. “Wake up! Do you know what’s happened?”
The outline of my hand on her cheek turns into an ugly red print.
She moves her head from side to side as if making a mental checklist. I’ve seen her do this many times on our outings – making sure she’s left no one behind, counting and identifying each of us.
“Kyra?” she whispers.
I kneel in front of her and take her hand. “Mr. Trevern took her to see the Headmaster.” Bethina groans and balls her hand under mine. “But no one else?”
“Not from our group.” I swivel around to scan the group of boys who just entered. My eyes dart over each face, searching.
“Where’s Beck?” I ask. Bethina makes a weird choking sound. Her tear-stained face contorts. A small movement of her head to the side. The world spins. I know before she says it.
“Heya, Birdie, you wanna hurry up a bit? If you haven’t noticed, it’s cold.” Beck waves his gloveless hands in front of me. “Daydreaming again?”
I shake my head. “Did you see that? The snow?”
“What? The snow devil?” His dimple deepens when he grins. “Yeah, it seemed like it was following you.”
“It did, didn’t it?”
He winks. “That’s my Birdie, master of the elements.” He scoops up a handful of snow with his bare hand and tosses it at me. I step to the side and the snow narrowly misses me.
Beck blows on his cold, wet hand and makes puppy eyes at me. I consider giving him grief for throwing the snow at me, but instead, I reach for him. “Give me your hand, Mr. I-Crave-Heat.” I push our joined hands into my pocket. Despite his claim of being cold, his warmth radiates through my glove.
He gives my hand a small squeeze and motions to my wristlet. “Can I share?”
I hit a button, beaming the sound into his feed, and turn up the music. He sings a few lines of the refrain while performing some weird dance move. Beck drags me along after him. I laugh and shove him with my free hand. We stumble, tripping over each other’s feet, but Beck catches me before I fall.
“Nutter,” I gasp between laughs.
“You mean that wasn’t an elaborate excuse to get me to wrap my arms around you?” I know he’s joking, but heat flares across my face. Thank God I’m probably already rosy from the cold.
“You are so bizarre sometimes,” I say as I right myself.
He bows and then shoves his hand back into my pocket.
Around us, the snow dances and sways again. We walk on a few more minutes, Beck leaning into me so that his hand stays connected to mine.
A rush of air hits me from the right, then another from my left. They tickle over my body, probing into the loose edges of my jacket. When they find an entrance, they race under my clothes, like a swarm of invisible mosquitos.
What are they?
Before I can figure it out, the tickles become nibbles, then bites. I swat at them, striking my arms, legs and torso until they recede.
Behind me, a whisper. I spin to confront it.
“Who’s there?” My weak voice wavers more than I’d like.
Hushed voices float across the field, churning into one another and mingling with the wind so that I can’t make out specific words.
Something, or someone, watches me from the grass. My quickening pulse thunders in my ears. “I can hear you. I know you’re there.”
A tall, young man steps into the path in front of me. My breath hitches. Even in my confused state, I can see he’s gorgeous. Chiseled jaw, piercing blue eyes, light brown hair. The kind of guy Kyra would make all kinds of inappropriate comments about.
He throws up his hand, like telling me to stop. I freeze.
“Bethina’s waiting for you,” he says, the words razor sharp. For being beautiful, there’s something ugly about the way he regards me.
A sliver of pale yellow streaks through the grass. Dull blue appears to my left. A glint of green pulls my attention to the space behind the man.
All around us, dozens of people crouch low in the swaying grass. Watching me.
The man, dressed head-to-toe in muted red, squares his shoulders as if to challenge me.
The hair on my neck pricks up and I take a step back. “I know.”
My eyes find his wrist. Like mine, it’s bare. So, he’s not a State-identified Sensitive. But who, or what, is he? And does he have something to do with the invisible mosquitos?
The man glares at me before retreating back into the grass. He whistles a few snappy notes of a song I vaguely recognize, and vanishes.
I swing my head from side to side – surely he didn’t disappear?
“Eat me, Sebastian! It’s okay for guys like you and Court to fuck everyone. But when I do it, I get dumped for innocent little twits like Cecile. God forbid, I exude confidence and enjoy sex. Do you think I relish the fact that I have to act like Mary Sunshine 24/7 so I can be considered a lady? I’m the Marcia fucking Brady of the Upper East Side, and sometimes I want to kill myself. ~ Kathryn Merteuil; Cruel Intentions (via yellow-umbrellas)”—Last one, I swear.