Blog Tour: A Quiet Kind Of Thunder

A Quiet Kind Of Thunder
Written by Sara Barnard
Contemporary, Romance, Diverse Fiction
Published January 12th 2017
320 Pages
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia
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★★★★
Steffi doesn't talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can't hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn't a lightning strike, it's the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life, she's been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He's deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she's assigned to look after him.

To Rhys, it doesn't matter that Steffi doesn't talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she's falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.
From four years of age, Steffi had been diagnosed with Select Mutism, a precursor to an often debilitating social anxiety disorder. Now at seventeen years of age and using basic sign language when she cannot find her words, Steffi has devised an agreement with her parents. Steffi's one ambition is to attend university, studying animal welfare. The proposal, to begin verbalising to her peers for her parents to consider a further education. With her best friend now attending college, Steffi has never felt as distant and alone... Until Rhys.

Rhys is a passionate, friendly and charismatic young man who also communicates through sign language, having transferred from an aesthetic and sensory environment and enrolling to provide himself with the challenge of navigate the auditory environment of high school. Conversing with the use of sign language, begins a tentative friendship developing into a gentle relationship of tender words and lingering kisses. 

My Thoughts

Steffi was a wonderful character, a precocious girl with a gentle disposition. Since the tender age of only four years old. Steffi has suffered from selective mutism and in recent years has developed severe and paralysing anxiety, tormented by her peers. Through therapy and now medication, Steffi has been working towards her ambition of learning to speak, only comfortable when speaking with family members and her best friend, who is now enrolled at University. Steffi's anxiety was palpable, her internal monologue was fascinating although pensive, her frustration at not being able to physically speak due to her anxiety was distressing especially seeing she was offered little support from the education faculty.
I move slowly so people won't notice I'm there, because running in public is as loud as a shout. 
Her parents now divorced and remarried to their respective partners, Steffi shares how her mother would often manipulate the young girl into speaking, frustrated at her lack of progress. She was against the prospect of her daughter learning basic sign language to communicate, believing it would hinder her development and thus failing as a parent. Thank goodness for Steffi's father who was supportive and although concerned about his daughter, refused to limit Steffi's ability and encouraged her from a young age. Their lives all irrevocably changed after the tragedy they rarely speak of, but binds their family together.
Meekness is my camouflage. Silence is my forcefield.
Rhys was absolutely lovely, vivacious and inspiring. Rhys is hearing impaired and communicates with the use of sign language. Having previously attended a sensory school, he's now enrolled in public education as a challenge and precursor to becoming a games developer. Placed together through a shared understanding of sign language to communicate, Rhys and Steffi begin a wonderful friendship based on a fondness for one another, rather than their perceived limitations. It was one of the loveliest romances I've had the pleasure of reading in young adult. A gradual relationship built upon friendship and a mutual respect despite their differences.

I appreciated Steffi's friendship with her best friend, although Steffi seemed a little too judgmental when disclosing her fondness for relationships. September Samatar is passionate and impulsive, the two having been friends since their mothers having met at the Refugee Council. September brings a sense cultural diversity throughout the storyline, which also touches on the racism the young teen experiences. I did feel Steffi begun to abandon her best friend in favour of Rhys at times.

As their relationship develops, it was wonderful to see that neither character was denied the teenage experience. A Quiet Kind of Thunder also explores mental health, friendships, relationships and romantic relationships. It is remarkably sexually positive and promotes safe sex practices in which I applaud Sara Barnard for her pragmatical approach.

Sincere and endearing, A Quiet Kind Of Thunder was a beautifully written narrative that breaks down the barriers of communication. Exquisite, wonderful diverse and explores the infinite potential of the human condition.

The First Third

The First Third
Written by Will Kostakis
Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, LGBT
Published July 24th 2013
248 Pages
Published by Penguin Books Australia
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★★★★☆
Life is made up of three parts. In the first third, you're embarrassed by your family. In the second, you make a family of your own and in the end, you just embarrass the family you've made.

That's how Billy's grandmother explains it, anyway. She's given him her bucket list and now it's his job to glue their family back together.

No pressure or anything.

Fixing his family's not going to be easy and Billy's not ready for change. But as he soon discovers, the first third has to end some time. And then what?

It's a Greek tragedy waiting to happen.
Yiayia is a formidable woman, even as she's confined to her hospital bed after having collapsed at the Orthodox Easter church service. Bill Tsiolkas should have been beside his elderly grandmother as she stumbled but left to pursue his first kiss.

While Yiayia lies frail in her hospital bed, Billy has been tasked to find a husband for her single mother, bring his brother Simon home from Brisbane and to fix Peter, his younger, volatile sibling. The legacy and sense of family have now been ensured in Billy's trust, Yiayia is determined to unite her family. 

My Thoughts

The First Third is a hilarious and heartwarming narrative of European Australia and our familial, unconditional acceptance. According to Yiayia, life is lived in thirds. The first third, you're embarrassed by your family. The second, you create your own family and in the third fragment of life, you're old enough to embarrass the family you've created. Billy is currently living the first third when his grandmother is hospitalised, his Yiayia the matriarch that binds their family together. The Tsiolkas family is fractured. Since his father abandoned his family, Billy's mother has raised three boys with the help of Yiayia but as her boys reach adulthood, finds herself wanting to explore new relationships. Yiayia has entrusted Billy with a series of impossibles to harmonise their family, finding a new husband for his mother first and foremost.

Simon now lives in Brisbane, living with the freedom he was not afforded in Sydney and Yiayia has asked Billy to find a lovely girlfriend for his other brother, unaware that Simon is gay. Lastly, Peter. Billy's younger brother is erratic and volatile, his only familial relationship with his grandmother who has asked Billy to fix his brother. A series of impossibles.

Billy is a sensitive young man. Reserved, delightfully awkward and quietly intelligent. I cherished how he adored and respected his grandmother, a rarity for positive parental and grandparental involvement in young adult novels. He has a wonderful and at times, hilariously humiliating relationship with his mother from fashion consultant to being asked to revise his mothers sexual text messages. Ultimately, Billy wants his mother to be happy and find a partner that can absorb the heartache left when his father walked away from their marriage. 

Billy's friendship with best friend Lucas was a wonderful influence on his life. Affectionately known as Sticks, Lucas has cerebral palsy and although he appoints himself as a romance aficionado, is looking for a young man who see Lucas for Lucas, despite his disability. Lucas was a breath of fresh air and I appreciated that his sexuality and disability weren't used to further his narrative. I loved their friendship and open candidness, it was an absolute pleasure.

The foundation of The Sidekicks is a strong sense of family. Boisterous, meddlesome families. It was wonderfully diverse and represented Australia and our communities. It was beautiful, uplifting and why I read Australian young adult novels. It gives you a sense of being home.

It was magnificent. Will Kostakis is an author who writes with honesty and humor, creating engaging characters that you'll hold dear to your heart. I loved the sense of family. The relationships and friendships that are wonderfully blemished but ultimately complex. Get the tissues ready for this one, you'll need them.

Read as part of the #DiverseReads2017 challenge.

Freedom Swimmer

Freedom Swimmer
Written by Wai Chim
Historical, Friendship, Diversity
Published September 1st 2016
272 Pages
Purchased
Published by Allen & Unwin Australia
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★★★★★
This incredible tale about two boys' swim from mainland China to Hong Kong in search of freedom from poverty and oppression is inspired by a true story.

Ming survived the famine that killed his parents during China's Great Leap Forward, and lives a hard but adequate life, working in the fields.

When a group of city boys comes to the village as part of a Communist Party reeducation program, Ming and his friends aren't sure what to make of the new arrivals. They're not used to hard labour and village life. But despite his reservations, Ming befriends a charming city boy called Li. The two couldn't be more different, but slowly they form a bond over evening swims and shared dreams.

But as the bitterness of life under the Party begins to take its toll on both boys, they begin to imagine the impossible. Freedom.
Ming stands on the bank of the river, a farewell to his mother who now joins the procession of souls taken by years of famine. His father died attempting to swim to Hong Kong, escaping the communist regime. Starving and alone, Ming is eleven years old when Fei is seeking refuge, one night of shared sorrow ensuring a friendship of support and comfort spanning distance and time.

Toiling the impacted earth, Ming labours for meager rations when under a Mao regime, the village of Dingzai has been selected for reeducation, expected to learn the teachings of their leader while the young men of the Red Guard are sentenced to the toil as humble farmers. Spreading the message of Mao. Li  is serving his leader, the Red Guard member an exemplary young man who is commended for his loyalty and dedicated to the teachings of his leader.

Ming and Li form a tentative friendship, relying on one another for support, guidance and compassion. Tension is high in the small farming village of Dingzai, famine and neglect have taken their toll and the only refuge is a liberal Hong Kong, a tumultuous Freedom Swim across the channel or risk being labelled as a reactionary thinker.

When you have nothing left, you have nothing left to lose.

My Thoughts

A few weeks ago I read a review for Freedom Swimmer on Happy Indulgence and was touched by Jeann's review. She spoke about how her family had migrated to Australia in which most families search for freedom and an environment to raise children, allowing them to prosper. It's a narrative echoed by so many Australian families, our neighbours, our friends and family members. Ming's story is passionate and breathtaking but most of all, it instills hope and a sense of understanding, learning not to take our freedom for granted.

Orphaned at the tender age of only eleven years old, Ming is a mere boy in a village where children sow the fields in communist China, not afforded an education unlike wealthy families living within the city, Ming is an outcast since his father attempted the treacherous swim to Hong Kong.

Titled Freedom Swimming by the media, an overwhelming number of young men and women made the journey to freedom, escaping Maoist guards with dozens of barely adult bodies washing up on the Hong Kong shoreline. Famine swept throughout China and for many citizens, escape was their only means of survival. Wai Chim was inspired by her own father's story, he too was a Freedom Swimmer in the early seventies and now lives a peaceful life in New York. An inspiration.

Freedom Swimmer is told in duel narratives from both Ming and Li, both young men are wonderfully written and will appeal to the wider audience with the characters conversing in modern English. Readers experience China's Cultural Revolution through the eyes of two young men, wanting justice for the treatment of so many and hopeful for their freedom. Freedom Swimming was an incredibly treacherous era, with many media reports believing it was a significant precursor to cultural change.

Australia is a multicultural country not without fault. Asylum seekers from war ravaged countries are modern day Freedom Swimmers, seeking refuge and safe passage for their families only to be placed in detention. Unless you identify as an Indigenous Australian who remain our traditional land owners, we are all migrants seeking the same freedom and prosperity and Freedom Swimmer further highlights their plight.

Inspirational, poignant and quietly beautiful, Freedom Swimmer is a journey of bravery and the strength we draw from solidarity and compassion.

Giveaway, Goodbye 2016 and Four Years of Blogging

Twenty sixteen. The year that took so much and gave so little in return.

The Year That Was

In Australia, we were Googling the United States election and recipes for pancakes, parents were calling their children Charlotte or Oliver and the highest grossing film for twenty sixteen was Finding Dory. Collectively, we mourned the loss of cultural identities Prince, George Michael and David Bowie among others and for readers, none more so than Alan Rickman. A man who brought the beloved Severus Snape to life in the Harry Potter series adaptations.

Racism and ignorance created a volatile United States with the new President Elect, Donald Trump. We witnessed the Bastille Day terrorist attack in Nice, atrocities Iraq, Belgium and Syria, the Orlando nightclub massacre, Brexit and the ongoing genocide in Aleppo. In Australia, we elected our first Muslim and first Aboriginal female to the House of Representatives. We still have Indigenous Australians dying in custody, Asylum Seekers on Naru and Manus Island being denied human rights and we continue to campaign for marriage equality while protesting against Neo Nazi Australians and for Black Lives Matter, along with our American counterparts.

Kanye West announced, I actually don't like thinking. I think people think I like to think a lot. And I don't. I don't like to think. Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston were an item, then not. We stood with Her, we marched against domestic violence and domestic violence within our Indigenous communities and Clementine Ford encouraged women to push back against patriarchy.

And of course, we read.

Favourite #LoveOzYA Reads

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Favourite Contemporaries

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Middle grade awesomeness

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Fantasy Favourites

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Most Anticipated #LoveOzYA reads

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Most Anticipated International Reads

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Fourth Blogaversary

As the new year approaches, I'm celebrating four years of blogging with a giveaway. Thank you to everyone who has followed, commented, engaged me on social media and recommended wonderful new reads. Thank you to Kynndra who continues to be a source of support and motivation and I miss dearly. Thank you to the Australian Young Adult Bloggers and Readers group, my fellow administrators and our friends from New Zealand who continue to support our community, our authors, publishers and most of all, our fellow readers. 

Enter to win a book of choice or an Amazon giftcard to the value of $15.00AU. Winner will be chosen at random. For an Australian winner, your book of choice will be chosen from Booktopia. For an international winner, please ensure The Book Depository ships to your country. If you are under thirteen years of age, please ask parental consent before entering. 

The Sidekicks

The Sidekicks
Written by Will Kostakis
Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, LGBT
Published February 29th 2016
256 Pages
Add to Goodreads
★★★★★
The Swimmer. The Rebel. The Nerd.

All Ryan, Harley and Miles had in common was Isaac. They lived different lives, had different interests and kept different secrets. But they shared the same best friend. They were sidekicks. And now that Isaac's gone, what does that make them?

Will Kostakis, award winning author of The First Third, perfectly depicts the pain and pleasure of this teenage world, piecing together three points of view with intricate splendour.
Isaac was charismatic, attractive with a smile that could illuminate any room. He was the son, the brother, the best friend and now a legacy to live each moment. Isaac leaves behind Ryan, Harley and Miles, their bond only existing through Isaac who had been the one connection all three boys at their private Catholic school had shared. The Swimmer, The Rebel and The Nerd. Carpe diem.

My Thoughts

The Sidekicks is a magnificent male narrative exploring the harrowing loss of a friend through grief, reflection and remembrance. It's often the quiet, unassuming reads that effect us most, it was beautiful. Isaac is a charismatic young man who the reader connects with through the memories and stories of his peers after his tragic passing. Three young men with one common factor, Isaac.

Ryan is The Swimmer, an Olympic hopeful who's athleticism has afforded him a privileged position within the school. Ryan and Isaac shared a wonderful friendship based on trust, Isaac having kept Ryan's confidence until the very end. Ryan is gay and isn't yet comfortable sharing his sexual preferences with his peers for fear of persecution. Ryan often refers to himself as the third person, Ryan Patrick Thomson, Olympic hopeful and seen as a popular athlete with very little to offer academically.

Harley is The Rebel, he self medicates with alcohol and his friendship with Issac was seemingly based upon addiction and dependence. Harley is a border at Barton House, his mother paying for his tuition after returning to the United States and abandoning him and his father. Underneath the coarse facade, Harley is deeply grieving the loss of his friend, rousing feelings of his mother's abandonment and returns home to his father.

Miles is quietly intelligent and is now reflecting on his friendship with Issac, believing that their friendship was just one of convenience. Months before Issac died, the two formed a partnership to create a short film in which Miles was praised but is now obsessing over the hours of filming between takes, isolating himself within the media room and piecing together their friendship with a series of broken scenes.

Ryan, Issac and Miles are three distinct individuals, all reeling over the loss of their friend. Their grief was palpable.
Time is pulling is apart. With every second that passes, the space between us widens. Today, I saw him yesterday. In a few days, it will have been last week. Then, last month. And there is nothing I can do to keep time from wedging more of itself between us. It is inevitable.
My heart. The Sidekicks is an honest, captivating and illumination of the male narrative of the many facets of grief, self doubt and the intricacy of male friendships. It was incredible. I enjoyed how the narrative was three separate, although interconnecting viewpoints surrounding the loss of Issac. I felt Ryan was the more engaging character, his narrative of losing the only person who he had confided in, the pressure of being an athlete and the casual homophobic slurs overheard from teachers and peers alike added to his anguish.

The Sidekicks is magnificent. Poignant, endearing and bittersweet, Will Kostakis is a remarkable author creating a narrative with a quiet intensity and conviction. I loved it. Immensely.

#DiverseReads2017 Book Challenge

In the new year, I'll be joining hosts Mishma at Chasing Faerytales and Shelly at Read Sleep Repeat and participating in the #DiverseReads2017 book challenge. My reading focus will be on Indigenous and Australian authors who write diversely. I love Australian young adult fiction and it often tends to be overlooked for more popular, American authors. Remember that to read diversely is to read from more than one experience. Experiences that transcend borders, heritage and your own experiences.

A selection of my #DiverseReads2017 book challenge


Becoming Kirrali Lewis

Cloudwish

The First Third

Flywheel

The Piper's Son

Liar

No Stars To Wish On
Jasper Jones
The Stars At Oktober Bend

If you're interested in joining the challenge, visit Chasing Faerytales for more details.

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy
Novella Series
Written by Cassandra Clare and friends
Fantasy, Romance
Published November 15th 2016
656 Pages
Thank you to Walker Books Australia
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★★☆
An illustrated collection of ten stories about Simon Lewis, star of Cassandra Clare's internationally bestselling series The Mortal Instruments, as he trains to become a Shadowhunter.

Simon has been a human and a vampire, but after the events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, he isn't sure who he is any more. When the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon hunting, determined to find himself again. Whomever this Simon might be... Join him on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy's illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These moving and hilarious short stories are perfect for fans who just can't get enough of the Shadowhunters. The series features characters from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, Dark Artifices and the upcoming Last Hours series.
Once a vampire and now a mundane, Simon Lewis has enrolled at the Shadowhunter Academy with fragments of a bewildered memory. Simon will decide whether to remain a Mundane or become a revered Shadowhunter, his reputation as a saviour paving his path to becoming an elite scholar despite being unable to recollect his role in Alicante, the Glass City and capital Idris. With the support of his childhood friend Clary and he's beloved yet estranged Shadowhunter girlfriend Isabelle, Simon will begin his journey to becoming the ultimate protector while uncovering the memories of a former life.

Who is Simon Lewis?

My Thoughts

Simon Lewis, former vampire now a mundane in vintage band shirts and awkward sharp angles is embarking on a new adventure as a Shadowhunter. The first few novella installments were wonderfully written, charming and engaging. It wasn't until I had reached Nothing But Shadows, where the storyline became tedious. Among the copious amount of historical information about characters from both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series, Simon's narrative becomes increasingly frustrating and his journey as Mundane to Shadowhunter is overwhelmed by monotonous tales.

The appeal of Simon's character is that of a humble, boy next door quality and it was disappointing that although his character is on a journey of self discovery, spent most of it bitching. His recollection of significant events may be lost, but he's been given a second chance at life, an opportunity to make a difference and he has a smoking hot girlfriend. Stupid Mundane.

As I was unable to read the finale instalment of The Mortal Instruments series due to the overwhelming number of new characters being introduced, Tales of The Shadowhunter Academy has helped bridge the gap between the Shadowhunter franchise and Lady Midnight, I enjoyed seeing Emma and Julian's Parabatai ceremony. The reader is also introduced to Helen and Mark Blackthorn and the Blackthorn family chronicles, characters from Lady Midnight. James Herondale and Matthew Fairchild, Will and Tessa from The Infernal Devices and the creation of Valentine's circle.

The allure of Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is Alec and Magnus.




Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy will appease fans, but little more. It was a blend of Simon whining and historical chapters of information that I found incredibly boring. I loved Lady Midnight but apart from Alec and Magnus, I won't return to the original Shadowhunter world again. I commend Cassandra Clare for listening to her readers and providing new adventures but the series has been exhausted.

Giveaway! Ho ho ho, merry SPARKmas!

'Tis the season. Fa la la la la. With thanks to my dear friend Rachael Craw and Walker Books Australia, they're giving away the entire Spark Trilogy to one lucky Australian or New Zealand resident.

To celebrate, I'm thrilled to be able to share with readers a bonus Christmas scene from the Spark series. Check Rachael's website next week for the final series giveaway!

A Note From Rachael

The following is a scene from a 2012 version of Stray that never went to print. I had forgotten all about it until I was trying to think of Christmassy posts to share with this giveaway. Then I remembered, looong ago in the recesses of time, that I had written a scene where Evie and Jamie exchanged Christmas gifts! How perfect. Of course, it's rather an old bit of writing so go easy on me Merry Christmas Spark Army, I love youse guys!

Merry Christmas from Evie and Jamie

“Merry Christmas.” Jamie’s voice carries down the hall from the front door. I picture the wry twist of his mouth as he bends to kiss Miriam’s cheek. This was all her idea – her and Kitty’s – a belated gathering to break the ice, post-trauma. I hide in the kitchen, pouring drinks and blindly arranging finger food as Leonard and Barb offer stiff greetings and Kitty overcompensates with breezy good cheer.

This is a terrible idea. They’ll never forgive me for putting Kitty in danger. Canapes and champagne for godsake. I glance over my shoulder like a guilty child and drain a crystal flute in a few desperate gulps before refilling it in a seamless manoeuvre.

I’m halfway through my second glass when Jamie’s reflection appears in the dark kitchen window. I spin, sloshing the contents over my hand, remembering his anti-booze speech after the Halloween ball, but Jamie’s reproving glare is nowhere to be found. His eyes skim the neckline and hem of my dress and my skin warms with an all over blush.

“Little early for tippling, love.”

“Shh.” I nod in the direction of the living room.

He takes the glass from my hand and swallows the rest. “Second thoughts, we’ll probably need it.”

I sigh and hang my head. The faint whiff of chimney smoke and winter air lingers on his dinner jacket. I love his crisp white shirt and cufflinks. He’s even combed his hair. He brushes cool fingers across the nape of my neck and I close my eyes. “This is going to be bad, isn’t it?”

“At least they came.” He circles my waist, drawing me close. “You’re very beautiful, you know?”

“Ugh.” I turn in his arms and wrinkle my nose at my hair in the window. “I look like a boy.”

“Hardly.” He rests his chin on my shoulder and places a small pale blue box with a tell-tale ribbon on the counter.

My brain blanks. The pressure of the last few months and all my dread for the future is displaced by another weight – my longing for what I can’t have. Him. I blink like a strobe, terrified to touch the box. “God, Jamie…”

He nudges me with his chin. “Don’t be difficult.”

“You make it impossible to compete. Now my present is going to look lame.”

“You got me something?” He releases me to lean back against the counter, grinning, eyebrows high.

“It’s been sitting in the bottom of my wardrobe since November.”

His lips form a small ‘o’ at the unmentionable season of separation. He ducks his head. “What is it?”

I reach past him for the small box wrapped in cheap Christmas paper on the windowsill and place it on the counter next to his ostentatious gift for me.

“You already have one.” I chew my lip, stupidly embarrassed.

He cocks his head. “I do?”

I can’t look right at him.

He chuckles. “Together?”

I grimace at the pale blue box, picking it up and trying not to watch him as he tears the paper from his present. I loosen the ribbon, lift the lid and hold my breath. There’s a small folded card which reads, Made to Order and under this a pendant.

“Oh…Jamie.” My throat constricts and I choke out a small laugh. “Snap.”

He opens his velvet case and bites his lip, smile spreading wide. “Saint Michael.”

“I don’t think they’re quite in the same league.” I sigh. “So I guess this’s no cubic zirconia?”

“Best not to ask if it makes you twitchy.” He raises the small silver medallion from the case and hands me the chain.

I help fasten the link behind his neck, breathing in his dizzying scent, and tuck the medallion inside his shirt. I fan my fingers on his chest. “Now he’s not just watching your back.”

His grey eyes sparkle. “Thank you.”

I offer up the little blue box.

“Stop frowning.”

“But it’s so…”

“What?” he murmurs, draping the filigree chain around my neck.

“Beautiful.” It is. Breathtakingly so. A tiny rose gold angel encircled with diamonds and the inscription ‘Saint Michael Protect Us’. I shake my head as he fastens the clasp.

“What?”

“Nothing.” I snort, remembering an old conversation. “I suppose I should be grateful it wasn’t a ring.”

He turns me to the window and my eyes fall first on the pendant then his face.

My soft laugh dies. “What?”

“We should probably go and rescue Miriam from the ice brigade.”

I turn and touch his cheek. “Jamie?”

He narrows his eyes. “What if it had been?”

“A ring?” My mouth dries. “I … um … I …”

“Thank you for my gift, Everton.” He bumps his nose gently against mine, making me cross-eyed. “I love it.” But it feels like, I love you.

My whole body tingles with the electricity of his touch and I stammer, “Well, this is … easily the most beautiful thing … I’ve – I’ve ever been given … and –”

He cuts me off with a kiss, soft, warm, lingering. Not remotely calming. When he finally pulls back I can’t think of a single coherent thing to say. He brushes his knuckle beneath my chin. “You’re welcome.”

Check out my Spark series reviews

 Spark Review
 Stray Review
 Shield Review

Giveaway


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