Month: April 2018

The Forgotten Ones Book Tour: Book Review

The Forgotten Ones

by Steena Holmes
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Synopsis

Elle is a survivor. She’s managed to piece together a solid life from a
childhood of broken memories and fairy tales her mom told her to
explain away bad dreams. But weekly visits to her mother still fill
Elle with a paralyzing fear she can’t explain. It’s just another
of so many unanswered questions she grew up with in a family
estranged by silence and secrets.
Elle’s world turns upside down when she receives a deathbed request from her
grandfather, a man she was told had died years ago. Racked by grief,
regrets, and a haunted conscience, he has a tale of his own to tell
Elle: about her mother, an imaginary friend, and two strangers who
came to the house one night and never left.
As Elle’s past unfolds, so does the truth—if she can believe it. She
must face the reasons for her inexplicable dread. As dark as they
are, Elle must listen…before her grandfather’s death buries the
family’s secrets forever.

Review

Few days back I read a review on this book by one of my fellow bloggers who raved about just how much she loved this book. I decided then and there that I have to get this book. I just can’t thank that blogger enough for introducing me to this awesome book and obviously Silver Dagger Book Tours for sending me the review copy for the blog tour.

In the initial pages, I was almost certain that I know what this book would be about, but then, just then this book threw all my speculations out of the window. At around 19% this book gripped me first, and then with each passing page this book gripped me even tighter, finally loosening it’s grip after I turned the very last page.

As the story progressed and new revelations were made, The Forgotten Ones became more and more chilling and thrilling. From 19% to the last page this book was completely unpredictable, and always kept me at the edge of my seat. Finally, I have to add, I totally loved each and every character of this book. From the main characters to the small characters, all the characters were well built, relatable and in one word just awesome.

Final words

If you are looking for your next breathtaking read, then search no more, The Forgotten Ones is the one for you.

LIFE AT 17 RATING

🎐🎐🎐🎐🔸

(4.5 STARS OUT OF 5)

( why I didn’t give it five stars? Because of the start, till 19% this book had not gripped me much, so….)

About the author

Steena Holmes is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of
titles including Saving Abby, Stillwater Rising and The Memory Child.
Named in the Top 20 Women Author to read in 2015 by Good
Housekeeping, she won the National Indie Excellence Award in 2012 for
Finding Emma as well as the USA Book News Award for The Word Game in
2015. Having her Author Brand featured repeatedly on sites such as
Goodreads, BookBub, RedBook, and Goodhousekeeping, Steena is an
authority on creating an effective author brand and has been invited
to speak on the subject at various author forums around the world. To
find out more about her books and her love for traveling.

Giveaway

Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!
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Tennessee Waltz Book Tour: Book Review

TENNESSEE WALTZ
by EA Hunt
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

Life was good for Country Crooner Rhett Ravel. His latest album was a hit. His fiancée was carrying his child and he was about to take his career in a new direction. Nothing could stop him.

Bella Cayn was an upcoming novelist who’s newest book was about to put her on the map and take her career to levels people only hoped for. Nothing was standing her way.

Both were getting what they wanted. Had worked hard for their little slices of heaven but what happens when one’s heaven turns into hell and the other was sent to save them giving them the comfort needed escape the hell they found themselves in.

Goodreads * Amazon

Review

Tennessee Waltz is a short book at 62 pages, but within these few pages only, the author etched a beautiful, heartwarming love story. I liked both Bella and Rhett’s characters and apart from them I also liked Vanya’s character, who was their publicist.

Though I loved this novella style love story of Rhett and Bella, but I would have loved Tennessee Waltz more if it was a novel. Then there would have been more romance, and in some places, a little more details would have been better, which could only have been possible if Tennessee Waltz was a novel instead of a novella. I really loved this story and would have liked this to be longer, so I could have spent more time with this beautiful story.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading Tennessee Waltz and would definitely recommend this book to all romance readers.

Final words

If you are looking for a short heartwarming love story to curl up with, then Tennessee Waltz is the perfect fit for you.

LIFE AT 17 RATING

🎐🎐🎐🎐🔸

(4.5 stars out of 5)

About the Author

Author EA Hunt was born the youngest of William and Natlean Bills’ four children. EA was raised in Joliet, IL; an suburb of Chicago, and went to college at Kentucky State University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and sung in the Gospel Ensemble. EA had two daughters, Tayla Elizabeth and Ava Elease. EA, Tayla and Ava reside in Marietta, Ga, an suburb of Atlanta, Ga.

Website * Google+ * Amazon * Goodreads

Giveaway

$20 amazon gift card

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
http://silver-dagger-scriptorium.weebly.com/sdsxx-tours/tennessee-waltz-book-tour-and-giveaway

Broken Series Book Tour: Book Review

Welcome to my spot in Broken Series Blog Tour. For my spot, I am going to review Book 2 of Broken Series, Broken Bitch.

BROKEN BITCH

Broken Series Book 2
by A.L. Simpson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Callie McKenzie hadn’t had a good introduction to life.
A drug addicted mother caught in the crossfire of a bar shootout saw
her dumped in the foster system at the age of thirteen.


Life finally seemed to take a turn for the better when she was offered
adoption by a kindly couple but, she knew it couldn’t last. Tragedy
puts an end to her dream of a happy life when she is taken to the
isolated farm of an abusive distant relative.
At the age of seventeen, beaten and bruised, fearing for her life,
Callie flees.
In the dead of night, on a lonely road,Jake Prescott – President of a
motorcycle club, finds her stumbling to freedom.
In the weeks that follow she is slowly pieced back together and falls
hard for her knight in shining leather. It doesn’t last long and
tragedy once again strikes.
At the age of eighteen, Callie finds herself alone again and in
prison.
Her uncle always said she was a BITCH.
Now, she was also BROKEN.

Review

Broken Bitch was a short read which I finished in a few hours. I quite enjoyed reading it.

I really liked Jake’s character, he was a man with a heart of gold, who loved his family and was completely dedicated to his MC club. I think Callie’s character was something, I am bit torn about. I half liked and half disliked her character, it was not like I hated her character, I just felt there were certain things about her behaviour that seemed a bit out of place in my picture of an abuse victim.

Callie and Jake’s love story was sweet and beautiful. But I think the best part of the novel was before they came into relationship and after Callie met Jake, the way Jake and his family cared about her and the way she became all hot and bothered when Jake was near was really sweet.

Another thing I loved about this book was Callie’s will to live. She suffered so much, was broken so many times but she still she survived.

I had expected Broken Bitch to be a bit more gritty after reading the synopsis, though it had mentions of abuse but it wasn’t graphic and not something that in my opinion could be considered a trigger. This is something which was good, because I prefer books without triggers more.

There were some parts of the book which I found to be overly emotional. Maybe because I wasn’t been able to connect to Callie well, so I found parts where I felt that way too many emotions were put. Even though this bothered me a bit, but it wasn’t something too major.

Final words

Finally I would like to say I liked reading Callie’s story and would like to recommend it to all romance readers.

LIFE AT 17 RATING

🎐🎐🎐🎐

(4 OUT OF 5 STARS)

Broken Bastard


Broken Series Book 1
Present Day
My name is Tyler Maxwell Alexander. I’m twenty-eight years old. A few
months ago, I had it all. An executive job in a prestigious
investment firm owned by my father. Ha! Yeah, right – father. I’ll
explain about that later. I lived in a waterfront apartment
overlooking the harbor and drove a Mercedes convertible. Then, in the
blink of an eye, it was gone. All of it. Everything, except the
fucking clothes on my back. I was broken. A bastard. Did I mention,
I’m gay? No? Oh well, I have now.

This is the story of how my fairytale life turned to shit in the blink of
an eye…….

This is the story of how my fairytale life turned to shit in the blink of
an eye…….

I write a variety of stories including Male/Male, Menage and
Shapeshifter.
Each book has a strong focus on story line with romantic interest building
throughout.
I explore real life issues from kids on the streets to motorcyle war
and put my own twist on each one.
I hope you take the opportunity to check out my offerings.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!






Wishing Well: Spotlight

Wishing Well

by Lily White
Publication Date: April 18, 2018
Genres: Adult, Romantic Suspense

AVAILABLE NOW!

https://amzn.to/2qzRY4V

SYNOPSIS:

The perfect timing of a fairy tale is tied to its tragedy…

Journalist, Meadow Graham, is invited to interview death row inmate, Vincent Mercier. Given three days to hear his sordid confession, Meadow seeks to learn why a wealthy hotel owner killed four people, including her twin sister.

Sensually exotic and enigmatic, Vincent details his deception while bragging about the amusement he took in manipulating Meadow’s sister.

Their interview is a battle of wills.

His story is a twisted web of coercion and lies.

And the tragedy is too perfect to be real.

Will Meadow discover all of Vincent’s secrets while she fights to protect her own?

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ABOUT LILY WHITE

Lily White is a dark writer who likes to dabble on the taboo side of eroticism. She is most known for her Masters Series (Her Master’s Courtesan and Her Master’s Teacher), Target This and many more. When she isn’t writing as Lily White you can find other books by her under M.S. Willis where she has penned the Estate Series and Because of Ellison (contemporary romance). Lily enjoys stretching her writing muscles by continuing to challenge herself with each book she publishes.

In addition to writing, Lily is an avid reader, gummy bear slayer, and a gold medalist in puppy naps.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter | Bookbub | Facebook Reader Group| Goodreads | Amazon Author Profile

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Living With Her One-Night Stand Release Week Celebration: Book Review

For Jill, Lucas was supposed to be a one-night stand, but then he shows up the next morning as her new roommate. She’s looking for a long-term relationship. He’s looking for a life free of commitments. She knows he’s wrong for her, but not wanting him isn’t really an option. Contemporary Romance fans will love this sexy new release from New York Times Bestselling Author Noelle Adams!

LIVING WITH HER ONE-NIGHT STAND

Author: Noelle Adams
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Noelle Adams
Series: The Loft
Format: Digital eBook / Print
Digital ISBN: B079QBFN82
Print ISBN: 9781386003724

Synopsis

Jill has never been good at taking risks, but she spends one hot night with a sexy stranger, knowing she’ll never see him again. Then Lucas shows up the next morning as her new roommate. He was supposed to be a one-night stand, but now he’ll be living in the empty room in her shared apartment for the next six months.

Jill needs stability and a long-term relationship, and she knows Lucas can never give her those things. He’s looking for a life free of commitments or obligations. She knows he’s wrong for her. She shouldn’t want him for more than one night.

But she lives with him. He’s around all the time–with his sexy smile and his hard body and the soft heart he pretends not to have. Not wanting him isn’t really an option.

Add to your TBR list: Goodreads

Available at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Review

Last year I read Falling For Her Brother’s Best Friend by Noelle Adams and loved it. So I was very excited when I got to know that Barclay Publicity was organising Release Week Celebration Event for Noelle Adams another book. I instantly signed up for it and here I am with the review for the book.

The story of Living With Her One-Night Stand flows smoothly with fair number of steamy scenes sprinkled throughout the novel. The book is not much heavy on emotions till it reaches last 20%. This last 20% is really emotional and certain parts actually made me cry. Though the last 20% sealed the deal for me and was the best part of the novel but I liked the fact that the first 80% of the book was not very heavy on emotions. I think this less amount of emotions went well with the plot.

The main characters were pretty good, I liked both of them. Jill is someone who is looking for a forever man and Lucas on the other hand is not into commitments. I know this theme is not new, but the way it was told made this book a really good read plus the reason why Lucas was no longer into commitments was something I had never read in any other romance novel. In simple words, in my opinion the reason was unique.

There is one small thing I wanted to say, I loved this book, but I felt that I would have loved this book a little bit more if it was written in first person narrative rather than third person narrative.

Final words

Living With Her One-Night Stand was a nice read and I feel that all romance lovers out there would definitely love it.

LIFE AT 17 RATING

🎐🎐🎐🎐

(4 OUT OF 5 STARS)

Excerpt

Copyright © 2018 Living With Her One-Night Stand
Noelle Adams

On Monday morning, Jill overslept.
She set her alarm for seven, but it was seven thirty-five when she finally woke up. As soon as she registered the time, she flew out of bed and ran to the bathroom.
She hated being late. As much as it annoyed her when other people were late, she hated it even more when it was her.
She took a three-minute shower, grabbed an outfit that wouldn’t take any effort to pull together—a knee-length A-line dress in a vintage print—and snatched a handful of jewelry that might possibly work with it. She’d barely gotten her shoes on before she was rushing into the kitchen to get some coffee.
Michelle was at the counter with her laptop as she always was, eating cereal and working. But what surprised Jill was finding that Lucas was up too.
He didn’t have to work. He didn’t have a schedule. He could still be in bed.
But there he was, sitting at the counter with a cup of coffee, putzing on his phone. Wearing nothing but a pair of old sweatpants. His hair was mussed, he needed to shave, and he wasn’t wearing a shirt.
So the first thing Jill saw as she came into the kitchen was a whole lot of gorgeous male back and shoulders and arms.
She didn’t need to see that this morning.
She dumped her pile of jewelry on the counter as she poured herself a cup of coffee.
“Morning,” Lucas said, sounding friendly and casual.
What was he even doing up this early?
And why did he have to sound so awake? Awake and masculine. Awake and masculine and sexy.
First thing on a Monday morning.
She did her best to suppress a snarl.
“You’re running late,” Michelle said, without looking up from her laptop. “Did you oversleep?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.” Jill was trying to drink her coffee and put on her earnings, bracelets, necklace, and rings at the same time.
Lucas was watching her with laid-back interest in his green eyes.
She tried not to snarl at him again.
His eyebrows went up slightly, and she realized she must not have done a good job at the suppression.
She turned her back to him, reaching into the cupboard for a breakfast bar. She preferred to eat cereal, but she didn’t have time this morning. She kept her back to Lucas as she gulped down more of her coffee.
“You missed a button.”
She stiffened, glancing over her shoulder to verify that Lucas had been talking to her. “What?”
“You missed a button.” He gestured toward her dress. “You want me to get it?”
“I can get it,” she gritted out, contorting her arms until she could feel which button on the back of her dress was undone. Discovering it, she stretched her shoulders painfully so she could button it.
When she glanced back over at Lucas, she saw that his mouth was tilted up slightly.
He was laughing at her. Silently but definitely laughing.
She didn’t try to hide her snarl this time.
He didn’t have to be up and dressed and at work by eight in the morning. He didn’t have to sit there in her kitchen, looking smug and gorgeous and amused and irresistibly rumpled when she could barely pull it together.
What kind of malicious turn of fate had made him her roommate at all?
When she’d managed her button, she poured more coffee into her cup and took it with her, grabbing her bag on her way out as she left.
She did remember to mumble out a “See you later,” before she closed the door.
It was just the first Monday morning of Lucas living in her apartment.
It was going to be a long six months.

About Noelle Adams

Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she reads any book she can get her hands on and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel.

She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

http://www.barclaypublicity.com

How To Remove A Brain: Book Review

HOW TO REMOVE A BRAIN

And Other Bizarre Medical Practices and Procedures

David Haviland

Genres: non-fiction, humour

Publication: 10th August 2017

Synopsis

“Hilarious, and sometimes stomach-turning, vignettes.”~New Scientist

• How was history changed by a single Soho water pump?

• Where is the soul found?

• How long does it take to digest chewing gum?

•• What are hiccups for?

• Does organ theft actually happen?

• Did Christopher Columbus import syphilis to Europe?

• Was King George V killed by his doctor, in order to meet The Times’ deadline?

Taking in everything from the outrageous (yes, Hitler was addicted to crystal meth) to the eye-watering (such as the renowned surgeon who accidentally cut off his patient’s left testicle) to the downright disgusting (like the ‘cure’ for toothache used by the Egyptians involving dead mouse paste), this book proves that medical science is not for the faint-hearted, lily-livered or weak-stomached!

Goodreads|Amazon.com|Amazon.uk

Review

I always enjoy reading Did You Know GK facts that are printed in magazines so when I got hold of this book, I was very very excited to read it. And as expected I totally enjoyed reading this book.

The entire book is filled with really bizarre facts and I had a seriously humorous adventure reading about these facts.

Reading this book was quite an enlightening journey too, apart from been humorous. Through this book I got know about few people who made some groundbreaking discoveries that played a significant part in helping people and improving there lives. I also got to know about different diseases, bizarre techniques that were implemented to cure diseases and weird diagnostic methods that were applied to know what a person suffered from. I was thanking God that I am born in an age where science and medicine has advanced so much, even though I was having a laugh reading those bizarre healing techniques and diagnostic methods the people previously believed in.

Other two portions that I quite enjoyed reading were, first was where some of the diseases famous people suffered from was mentioned and second was where how People got famous because they were linked to a particular disease was mentioned.

I just have one complaint about this book, i.e, in some places I would have liked a bit more detail.

Final words

This is a kind of book that I think everyone will enjoy reading, so I ask you all to click on the buy links and order your copy now.

LIFE AT 17 RATING

🎐🎐🎐🎐

(4 OUT OF 5 STARS)

*Received a free copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review*

Quote

One of the most hilarious quote present in the book:

‘Optimistic lies have such immense therapeutic value that a doctor who cannot tell them convincingly has mistaken his profession.’ ~George Bernard Shaw

What others are saying

I never thought a book titled How to Remove a Brain would be so incredibly brilliant. David Haviland, I don’t know you, or why you create books like this and Why Dogs Eat Poop, but you are clearly smarter than your maturity level.” Kick Ass Book Reviews

“Any fan of the absurd and/or obscure is sure to delight in this strange (and slightly stomach-turning) book. I love trivia and this book delivers.” As the Page Turns

“Contains“Contains fascinating insights into medical history, in spite of its off-beat title.” Irish Medical Times

“Delightfully disgusting.” Whatchamacallit

“A hilarious look at medicine throughout history… a painstakingly researched compendium of bizarre facts from the world of medicine, administered with a healthy dose of humour… a must for fans of the bizarre, and perfect prep for livening up dull dinner party conversations.” GQ

“A GP Christmas stocking must… From the ‘Wisdom of the Ancients’ through to diseases, diagnoses and cures, this rip roaring journey through the wonders of medical advancement misses little. The content is without doubt one of the funniest recaps of the great, good and unbelievable of medicine. 9/10” Pulse Magazine

The End Release Blitz

Title: The End

Author: M. Rose Flores

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 16, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 81200

Genre: Horror, LGBT, horror, zombies/undead, post-apocalyptic, in the closet, dark, no HEA, bisexual, tearjerker

Synopsis

On Cate Mortensen’s seventeenth birthday, her family is scattered in a fight for survival, and she and her sister Melody are catapulted headfirst into a world where their phones are just hunks of plastic, they must scavenge for every bite, and they sleep with weapons in their hands. Traveling alone, and then not so alone, they follow the route their family planned to Alcatraz Island where the hope of safety and a real life awaits.

After more than a year on the road, Cate has found three things to be true. One: Zombies are a thing now. Two: Not all zombies are just zombies. Three (the game changer): Cate is immune to the infection.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

The End
M. Rose Flores © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One: Pay Attention
Now

Where did these zombies come from, and how did I not notice them until now? This isn’t the worst we’ve faced, true, but zombies in general are dangerous and six at a time is not a number anybody should be comfortable with.

“Mel!” I call to my sister, keeping my eyes on the approaching zombies. “How’s it coming?”

Melody is a little way up the road from me, elbow-deep in the engine of a rusty old pickup that she said would be an easy fix. She was so confident, in fact, that we packed all our stuff and the dog into the truck. That was two hours ago.

“Fine,” she mumbles. “Getting there.”

“Soon?”

“I don’t know—yeah, soon.” Clang! “Why?”

“Like, in the next thirty seconds?”

“Cate, why?”

“We’ve got company.”

Mel growls and kicks the tire of the truck.

I yank the axe out of my belt loop just as three, four, eight, nine more come wandering out of the evergreens that surround the road.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Mel mutters. She whispers through the open window to the dog, “Chaz, down.”

Chaz settles on the front seat. A few of them may notice him if they get close enough, but they’ll always pick people given the option. He’ll be safe for now.

Safer than we are.

I swing my axe at the first one to approach, a clean hit to the back of the neck. The jaws continue to gnash after the body falls to the ground, but since that’s all that’s still moving, it’s not a threat anymore. The three fast approaching on my right and the one foot-dragger on the left, those are threats. I shove back the closest one, sending it sprawling, bury my axe into the second’s head, and work it free just in time to dodge the foot-dragger’s claws. The miss throws it off-balance and it falls to its exposed kneecaps. I split its skull before it has a chance to stand.

That’s one universally reliable factoid from zombie lore: head shot equals kill. The rest of it is a mixed bag of facts and fabrications.

By the time I dislodge my axe again, the one I shoved is in my face. I don’t even see another coming at me until it knocks the axe out of my hand.

“Damn it!” I fish my knife out of my jacket pocket and dispatch both of them. When I’m done, I bend down and pick up the axe.

I hear the thick squish of Mel’s little pocketknife penetrating rotten flesh and the subsequent dropping of one body, quickly followed by another, and the dull thud of her hammer and an exuberant ha! I turn to find her unscathed with three corpses at her feet. Go, Mel.

Before I can turn back around to assess my end, an especially rotten zombie takes my arm and pulls it toward its gaping maw. It bites down on the sleeve of my green canvas jacket, which I was wearing specifically for this reason. I let it think it has me while I split its skull. As the jaws go slack and the corpse collapses, I rub my forearm gingerly. Ouch. That’ll be a nasty bruise. But it serves me right for not paying attention. Again.

I turn to check on Mel just as a gigantic zombie in a leather jacket—and is that a motorcycle helmet?—lunges at her from behind, bowling her over like a house of cards. Her glasses go flying, and she hits the ground with an oomph, dropping her blade as the zombie chomps at her face uselessly through its helmet. Her knife skitters across the pavement and out of reach.

“Cate!”

I run toward them, vaulting myself over the hood of a car, losing my axe for the second time as I do. She’s pinned, and although the teeth are no threat inside that helmet, it’s only a matter of time before the claws rip through her hoodie. She’s trying to push it off, but it’s one of the biggest bodies I’ve ever seen, alive or dead. Just massive. I shove my hand into my pocket but find it empty. Where the hell is my knife? No time. I grab the first tool my hand lands on, a big-ass wrench, rip the giant’s helmet off, and swing for all I’m worth until its head is obliterated.

Mel retrieves her glasses and sits up, panting. That would have been a horrible way to go. She wipes her forehead with the back of her hand, shaking her head in relief. But her face changes and she points over my shoulder.

“Cate, behind you!”

Two more are right in front of me, so close they could reach out and touch me, which of course they do. One grabs my upper arm while the other closes in for a bite on the other side. I yank backward, shed my jacket, and stumble away from the two man-eaters but trip over the giant. Mel steps over me like an action heroine with her miniature .22 handgun drawn and ready. She puts them both down and helps me up. Four left.

We run around them in opposite directions, positioning ourselves behind them. I manage to kill one before the next has time to turn around. As soon as it does, I cave its face in with the wrench. When I turn to check on Mel, she’s already wiping her knife clean and stepping—somewhat delicately—over the last two corpses.

“Dude, what happened?” she asks.

I know she’s pissed; I had it coming. I don’t apologize, though. The words sit stubbornly in my throat.

“Sun was in my eyes,” I mumble. The excuse sounds even more flimsy out loud. “You said the truck would be an easy fix.” I don’t know why I resort to blame-shifting instead of just fessing up.

“Okay, how about next time you fix the car and I’ll try to get us killed?” she snaps. “And you’d better clean the brains off my wrench!”

I silently retrieve my axe from where it fell and my knife from the eye I left it in, and wipe the brainy blade, then the wrench, then my axe, on the clothes of various fallen zombies.

That’s something I didn’t expect: there’s very little blood in zombie killing if you’re doing it right. The movies would have you believe that there are buckets of the stuff just flying around every time you whack one. But the thing is—and it makes sense once you think about it—their hearts aren’t actually beating, and no beating heart means no pumping blood and therefore no bleeding. What ends up on the weapon and sometimes your clothing after you put a zombie down is a thick sludge made of gray matter and coagulated blood. It’s still disgusting, especially the odor, but at least it doesn’t splatter.

“I’m sorry, okay?” I slide my axe back into my belt loop.

Mel holds stubbornly onto her last shred of anger, aggressively polishing her glasses with the hem of her shirt. Suddenly she’s on me, squeezing the life out of me with her skinny arms. “Just keep an eye out, okay?” She strokes my hair the way my mom used to. “I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you too.”

“Deal,” I say, breaking the hug gently. I scan the area while Mel tosses her tools into the bed of the truck. “Those shots will bring more in. We’d better get a move on.”

Mel nods and pockets her gun. When she says his name, Chaz sits back up, tail wagging. She slams the hood of the truck. “Let’s go. I think I just barely managed to fix this heap before they got here. Moment of truth…” She twists a couple of wires together and pumps her fist into the air as the truck rumbles to life. “Yes! Life!”

It’s the best sound I’ve heard in a week. Mel and I have been traveling on our bikes since we had to ditch our last ride. The engine overheated, and while we were waiting for it to cool, a massive horde of zombies came wandering out of the forest by the highway. It was either fight and possibly die to save the car or get out quietly, take what we could, and run. We ran.

We did find a car the next day; drove it about five miles before we came upon a fallen tree that blocked the whole road. That didn’t even count as having a ride.

But thankfully, Mel is handy with cars. Very handy. So when we find a working or workable car, we keep it as long as it’s advantageous, and for the rest of the time, we have our bikes. It does limit what kind of vehicle we can use, since it has to have room for us, a seventy-pound dog, two bikes, and two packs, but it’s well worth it to keep the bikes.

Mel hops into the driver’s side and squeezes the wheel.

“I’ll drive first.”

I nod and slide into the passenger seat.

Chaz curls up between us with his torn-up tennis ball.

We pull away from the two cars that the truck was parked between, and we’re about to drive off when I jump in panic.

“Wait!” I fumble with my seat belt and throw open the door.

“Cate!” Mel slams on the brakes as I jump out. “Catherine! What are you doing?”

I run toward the zombies we just killed and jerk my jacket out from under two bodies, ignoring the zombie I didn’t fully kill that snaps at my hand as I do.

Mel glances at me sideways as we begin to pull away again, but she doesn’t say anything about my outburst. Instead, she just sighs and asks, “Back to the coast?”

Our trip through Medford was a bust. I glance at the map, staring at the lines I’ve long since memorized. If we’re lucky, we can be back on the marked route in a couple of hours. But luck is not abundant these days.

We both get discouraged and even a little irritable when a detour turns out to be fruitless. But I have to admit that we’ve had some really successful ones. We found better weapons and a fishing pole plus tackle in Hood River, and in mid-December, we found a house outside Newport in which to ride out a truly hellish winter. The previous owner was just another walking corpse when we found him, but he must have been a conspiracy nut or something because the entire basement was filled floor to ceiling with shelves of canned food and survival gear that we’re still using today. There were also boots that happened to fit Mel’s giant feet, thick jeans for me, those silvery space blankets, and loads of extra socks, which believe me, we needed. We even scored a bike trailer for the dog. So although the detours seem like unnecessary distractions from our ultimate destination, they are necessary. Every one.

We drive west, leaving a pile of twice-dead bodies behind.

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Meet the Author

M. Rose Flores has enjoyed writing since she learned how to string letters together. She grew up in the vast green Pacific Northwest of the United States, which with its dense forests, four seasons, and proximity to the ocean made a perfect setting for The End. When she isn’t writing on her computer or in a notebook (though scraps of paper and the palm of her hand will do in a pinch), she works as a professional dog trainer and loves every part of it, even the copious amounts of drool. She believes everyone should be represented in literature and all other media. The End is her first novel.

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