Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (#69)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, April 13th to Saturday, April 19th?


(all links to Goodreads are provided!)


From Amazon (for my Kindle):



This book is $1.99 on Amazon! Why not?! :D


After the week in books that was last week, I expected not to get much this week. Totally fine by me! How are you all?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman


Welcome to blog tour for Prisoner of Night and Fog! I hope you're as excited as I am about this book! Check out my review, and enter to win a copy of this book!

But first, be sure to catch up with the previous posts of the blog tour!


Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
Book Two of the Prisoner of Night and Fog series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

What I Liked:

Originally, I had some apprehensions and doubts, before picking up this book. When Harper uploaded a ton of books on Edelweiss, this book wasn't one of the books I downloaded. I wasn't planning on reading it (I know, I know, but it's the honest truth). This tour came along, and I couldn't resist. So I downloaded the book. And read it (the night before my tour stop, ha). It would have been a fine shame if I hadn't joined the tour and read the book - because I LOVED this book. It's so powerful and raw and superbly written. A historically based historical fiction novel at its finest - love!

Gretchen is completely under Uncle Dolf's spell - she sees him as a remarkable, charismatic leader, and a caring "uncle" - they're not actually blood-related. Apparently, Gretchen's father saved Hitler in a street brawl - he stepped in front of the Fuhrer and took a bullet for him. Ever since, Hitler doted on Gretchen, and Gretchen never questioned his politics or being. But when a Jewish reporter questions her father's noble "death", he brings up history that Gretchen is not ready to see. She doesn't want to know about Hitler's psychotic personality, or his cold lack of humanity. She must choose a side, before she herself is killed.

I LOVE how this fictional story is woven into the actual history of Hitler and Nazi Germany. It begins in the 1930s, the "before", before Hitler becomes the Chancellor and all that jazz. We get to see into the life of Hitler via Gretchen's eyes. We get introduced to Geli Raubal, Eva Braun, and many other personalities that were important to Hitler, as well as his success. I think that the characterization in this book is the most important and well-done element of this book.

Blankman writes and structures and creates characters in a way that you FEEL them, you UNDERSTAND them, you HATE them, you LOVE them. There is so much depth to each character - Gretchen, Daniel, Eva, Geli, Hitler, Reinhardt, Kurt... I felt very strongly towards just about all of the primary and secondary characters, and that is all due to Blankman's excellent characterization. She makes personas from history come to life, and makes them seem like humans, like everyday people (well, everyday people as in everyday Nazi Germany citizens. But I think you get what I'm saying).

It's clear to me that Blankman has done her research very well. You all know how much I love historical fiction (more so medieval fiction or Eduardian or Victorian, but any historical time period is great, really). You all also know how insane I am when it comes to historical inaccuracies (anachronisms). I really like how true Blankman stays to history - I feel like she didn't deviate at all, or through in any anachronisms. At least, as far as I could see (and we all know how I always have my anachronisms meter subconsciously turned on). That's talent! 

The romance is really progressive and developed and BEAUTIFUL. Obviously, this romance is important (check out the synopsis), and it is pivotal in the plot of this particular story. Usually I get all worked up over the romance being so crucial to the climax and whatnot. In this book, I like how Blankman actually makes it more of a choice of Gretchen's safety for Gretchen, and not just a choice of being with Daniel or not. So, while I still say that the romance is pretty important to the plot, especially at the end, I'll say that it is important and dominate in a good way. In a co-dependent way. If that makes sense. Also, no love triangle.

Overall, I'm really, really glad that I didn't let this one slip through my fingers. I was so close to not reading this book, you all. I told myself that 1930s Germany was too sad a period for me to read, and that while the book might be amazing, I wouldn't want to read sad books. I am so happy to have been proven wrong. So, so happy.

What I Did Not Like:

I honestly can't think of anything to say in this section. It's one of those books that I definitely think is absolutely amazing, and I can't think of things I didn't like in it, but I still give it four stars based on how I feel. It's a fantastic, awe-inspiring novel, and I really enjoyed it, but I'm not giving it five stars. You would have to be in my head to understand. But that's that!

Would I Recommend It:

I would definitely recommend this book to just about anyone, even if you're not a historical fiction fan. Ever so often, there comes a book in YA literature that seems relevant to everyone. Anyone and everyone should know the history of Nazi Germany. This is fiction, but it is powerful fiction. So... read it!

Rating:

4 stars. What a heartbreaking, thought-provoking, AMAZING debut novel. I definitely want to catch the next book in this series, especially since it follows the next chapter in the history of Nazi Germany. I'm utterly blown away and impressed with this author!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


About the Author:


Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.



The Giveaway:

Win (1) ARC of Prisoner of Night and Fog (US Only)


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Swoon Thursday (#64): After the End by Amy Plum

Swoon Thursday is a hot meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at YA Bound!


- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting


This week, my swoon is from After the End by Amy Plum!


I was just trying to reassure him. TO get him to trust me. Saying I might have overdone it would be an understatement. Because one second I was holding his hand, seeing him once again like Nome would - I couldn't help it. He looked so sleepy and defenseless... utterly gorgeous.

And the next second his hand is behind his head and he's eased me down on top of him and we're kissing... kissing like crazy. My whole body's buzzing, and all I want is to keep pressing my chest against his and lacing my legs through his and winding my fingers through his beautiful curly hair and feeling his lips brush mine for the rest of the night. But I can't. I can't do this. I have to...

- eARC, 49%


Read my review HERE.


I didn't really like this book (I gave it 2.5 stars), but I liked this swoon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#68): Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week, I'm featuring:


Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: October 14, 2014

Summary (from Goodreads):

Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.



For the most part, I LOVE Disney-Hyperion's books. And I'm all about debut authors! And finally - FANTASY! I love fantasy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guest Post with Nikki, Blogger of Fiction Freak!

Hello, lovelies! Today, in lieu of a review, I have a very special post for you. You all know Nikki, blogger/reviewer of Fiction Freak? She is FABULOUS, and I hope that by the end of this post, you all see just how awesome she is. 

Nikki recently moved to Wordpress, so we thought it would be a neat idea to do a guest post with each other, on favorite genres, to promote her site! Check it out!


Alyssa and Nikki's Favorite Genres!

Alyssa: Epic/high fantasy

I'm not really sure what others consider epic fantasy, or high fantasy, or historical fantasy, or medieval fantasy, so I'm just going to stick with the umbrella genre: high/epic fantasy. To me, this genre includes books such as Fire by Kristin Cashore (my all-time FAVORITE book ever), Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, and Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (although, the last one is noted more as historical fiction, rather than historical fantasy. Whatever). 

To me, fantasy is one of the few genres that are completely unrealistic. With science fiction, historical fiction, contemporary romance fiction, and maybe even paranormal fiction, it still feels like the story could legitimately occur in real life, with a little bit of a stretch in regards to paranormal fiction. But with fantasy, it's completely out of this world - literally. Fantasy draws me in because it's not real, and I love not real. HIGH fantasy attracts me because I've always had a fascination with the medieval world, with kings or lords, castles, and magic. Knights, assassins, gorgeous flowing dresses, swords, bows and arrows, chivalry - I love all of these "medieval" characteristics. Ancient and medieval civilizations have always interested me, so when you add the fantasy part, it's a perfect genre for me.

So. High/epic fantasy. Gimme more.

Nikki: 

YES. That one is definitely one of my favorites too. I ADORED Throne of Glass and Grave Mercy. I have to agree with you. I LOVE medieval worlds. They're fascinating and political intrigue? With magic? HELL YES. But then even without political intrigue, I love it. WORLDBUILDING! The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen was also pretty awesome. And Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. And City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster. And--you know what? I could just go on and onnnn. 
_________________________________________________________________________

My favorite besides high fantasy? PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS. I absolutely adore psychological thrillers and they are, quite possibly, the closest I will ever get to a true horror book because of my wimpiness. They're still terrifying though because they make you question the main character, the one person we're supposed to never doubt. You question their insanity, what they see, what they hear, whether they're being cautious or paranoid. And it's terrifying because a) people can think up some pretty terrifying shit and b) not knowing if you can trust your mind? Pretty creepy if you ask me.

But it's not just that--I really just love the thrill you get when you read a thriller, but the questions that a psychological thriller throws at you are just mindblowing. Can you trust this character? Can you not? Is she crazy, is she sane? You never exactly what's happening in one of these because you don't know if you can even trust the main character. I love trying to pick apart the facts from the hallucinations and the paranoia and sometimes it's impossible. I just know that every single time I read a psychological thriller I'm blown away with the revelations at the end of the story and then practically KILLED if we never get confirmation of whether our character is insane or not.

I remember my first psychological thriller was The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and guys, I fell in love. I fell in love with her insanity with her confusion, with her absolute denial that she was crazy, and with the things that happened that I'm still not sure are fact or fiction...err, fictional fiction. My recent favorite? The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. THAT BOOK. THAT BOOK.

Alyssa: 

Somehow, I didn't even consider psychological thrillers when I thought about my top three favorite genres O_O I definitely enjoy them – the ones I've read, anyway. I loved The Unbecoming of Maya Dyer! I can’t make heads or tails when it comes to Mara’s mindset, or what is real and what is not. I actually have not read book two, but that’s because I saw how far back the three book was pushed back. I’ll definitely mark down The Naturals. I think I need to read more of these books to know if I really like them or not, but I think I do. Yes.
_________________________________________________________________________

Alyssa's second favorite genre: science fiction

Science fiction is a really vague genre, because it includes dystopia, time travel, space operas, apocalyptic, steampunk, and so on. The "type" of science fiction that I love is just that - the "science" in fiction. I'm a math/science-y person by nature, as well as English/social science-y person. I'm an environmental engineer major attending the number one research university in the world... if you didn't believe me. Science is a core part of my life, and that is one of the reasons why I'm so fascinated with authors' spin on science fiction. Take, for example, Control by Lydia Kang. Genetic engineering is a pretty popular topic in YA sci-fi lit, which is fine with me. Kang's debut blends science fiction with thriller aspects, and I absolutely love it. Another science fiction novel I loved was Breathe by Sarah Crossan. Crossan incorporates a significant environmental theme in this duology, regarding the effects of a deteriorating atmosphere and poor oxygen quality. Also, I've really enjoyed the space-related science fiction novels, such as Burn Out by Kristi Helvig, Avalon by Mindee Arnett, and the Across the Universe series by Beth Revis. Fun fact: I used to want to be an astrophysicist. 

Science doesn't bore me, or (for the most part) confuse me, but it is does overwhelm me and totally blows my mind. I wouldn't be such a hardcore math/science major if I wasn't completely fascinated by the subject matter. I'd love to see more intelligent, deeply-rooted math/science-y science fiction novels in YA literature!

Nikki: 

Yes! I love sci-fi, but I don't really think I can call it my favorite. My favorite out of the ones you mentioned though, is probably time travel or parallel universes! Anything that explores theories. Apocalyptic stories are also pretty awesome. LOVED This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers and Parallel by Lauren Miller! It's so fun seeing others write stories and usually the worldbuilding or the science behind it, like you said. I loved Avalon and am DYING to read Burn Out. And I am in awe because many a times science *does* confuse me. Like I remember Vortex by Julie Cross just confused the heck out of me. 
_________________________________________________________________________

Nikki's second favorite genre: contemporaries 

CONTEMPORARIES. I adore contemporaries, especially the heartbreaking ones. I'm...not quite sure exactly what *kind* of contemporaries are my favorite, aside from emotional ones, but two of my favorites were The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis and Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens. I guess you could say the poignant ones? I'm sort of a philosophical person and reading contemporaries are just perfect, especially when they make you think about your own life and experiences. EVEN IF THE FEELS DO KILL ME. It's amazing because I feel like it's easier to relate to the characters and it just makes what happens to them all the more heartbreaking, especially since all these things could happen to me. There's no made up element (most of the times) no paranormal creature, no nothing. It's just heartache and heartbreak.

Alyssa: 

I’m actually not a fan of contemporary novels. There are many types – romance, what I call “tough-issues”, memoirs, etc. I generally dislike “tough-issues” novels (like, unfortunately, Faking Normal), but I totally see the appeal. I've actually read three of them in last week, and I mostly enjoyed all three! PROGRESS. I do like a contemporary romance novel every now and then, just because sometimes I am in the mood for something SOLELY based on romance. But that’s rare. And usually when I’m in those kinds of moods, I go for an adult historical romance novel.
_________________________________________________________________________

Alyssa's third favorite genre: historical fiction

And that is a perfect segue to my third favorite genre – historical fiction. Historical fiction is obviously quite different from adult historical romance novels, and I enjoy both, for the historical aspect. I’m not a hugeeeeee fan of the more historical fiction novels set in the more “recent” historical times, such as the 1900s. *hides* I know many people love the 1920s in particular, but I’m sort of meh when it comes to that time period. Take Born of Illusion by Teri Brown. It was okay, I liked it, but the historical setting wasn't WOW or amazing, in my opinion. I REALLY like medieval historical fiction, like The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell. Or like 1700s/1800s historical fiction, like The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas or The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz. Funny how both of those are historical fiction as well as fantasy though… so you can see why my #1 favorite genre is what it is. LOL. But in all seriousness, I love historical fiction, because I love seeing authors’ take on history. History is difficult to recreate, ESPECIALLY when it comes to those really early historical times (which is why I LOVE those novels in particular). The medieval ages, people. How about Starling by Fiona Paul (that series in general). THAT is some great historical fiction, set during the Italian Renaissance. 

Nikki: 

YES to hist-fics! Not one of my absolute favorites, but pretty damn close. I can't say I like the 1900s either, but medieval? Yesss. POLITICAL INTRIGUE. Anything with princes and queens and lords and knights, whatever. Love it. The number of betrayals and twists and people with scores to settle are numerous and it's just amazing. I suppose I like the stories of 1900s socialites, but definitely not as much as medieval ones! And I love anything historical Europe. RENAISSANCE GUYS. RENAISSANCE. One of my favorites has to be Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan and then Venom by Fiona Paul
_________________________________________________________________________

Nikki, on retellings:

Retellings. Oh how I love retellings. I guess this is sort of a cheat because retellings can really be any genre, but I just...yes. LOVE. I love seeing my favorite fairy tales or classics retold. It's just amazing seeing new twists on age old stories and new interpretations. And sometimes if it's one of my favorite stories (Like East of the Sun, West of the Moon) I'll practically attack someone for that book. I'M SORRY I CAN'T HELP IT. Retellings are just amazing and they'll have that timeless quality to it, just like the original. Some of my favorite retellings: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay, East by Edith Patou, Splintered by A.G. Howard, and Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson! THE IMAGINATION IN ALL OF THESE. It's really just amazing how creative people are to come up with new stories that still stick to the original. 

Alyssa: 

I so love retellings as well! I think it’s great that authors take an original story, an already acclaimed masterpiece, and make it something of their own imagination. Most retellings are fairy tale retellings, or even classics retellings. I love fairy tale retellings, and I think it would be SO COOL to read some darker fairy tale retellings, like the Grimm’s tales. Has anyone read the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales? I bought a copy (it’s GIGANTIC) and read some and gosh they are so interesting! And dark. But I love them. So of my favorite retellings are Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (retelling of Beauty and the Best), Entwined by Heather Dixon (retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses), and Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (which features a mixture of many, many fairy tales). I have Splintered (and Unhinged!), so I’ll be reading those two soon! I’m interested in Tiger Lily and Of Beast and Beauty, so I’ll mark them down ;)

--

So there you have it! We're basically twins :D


Stalk Nikki!



Stalk Yours Truly!

April 2014 New Release Giveaway!


Welcome to the April New Release Giveaway Hop! The April New Release Giveaway hop is sponsored by Bo-ok Nerd.


This month, I'm giving away an ARC of Burn Out by Kristi Helvig!


Burn Out by Kristi Helvig
Book One of an untitled series
Publisher: Egmont 
Publication Date: April 8, 2014

Summary (from Goodreads):

A futuristic blend of Beth Revis's Across the Universe and Lenore Appelhans's Level 2, Burn Out will satisfy the growing desire for science fiction with a thrilling story of survival, intrigue, and adventure. 

Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even more deadly than the hostile environment.

Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora is alone--her brilliant scientist father murdered, her mother and sister burned to death. She dreams of living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals. Unfortunately, the oceans dried out ages ago, the only plants are giant cacti with deadly spines, and her pet, Trigger, is a gun--one of the bio-energetic weapons her father created for the government before his conscience kicked in. 

When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take the weapons by force, Tora's fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus and his rag-tag group of raiders, including a smart but quiet soldier named James. 

She is shocked when James accidentally fires one of her father's bio-weapons--weapons designed to work only for her. She'd felt a strange pull to James from the start, but the odds of someone sharing her energy vibration are statistically minuscule. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father's request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence.



The Giveaway:

Win an ARC of Burn Out by Kristi Helvig! PLEASE SEE THE GIVEAWAYS PAGE AND/OR THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS LISTED IN THE RAFFLECOPTER BEFORE ENTERING!

Open INTERNATIONALLY! Good luck!




Release Day Blitz and Excerpt: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Welcome to the release day blitz for Jennifer L. Armentrout's Don't Look Back! I've had the pleasure of reading this book, and I loved it! Check out my review, this post, and read the fabulous excerpt! 




Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Official Summary:

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all—popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her—even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory—someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?



About the Author:


# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.



The Excerpt:

I didn't recognize the name on the street sign. Nothing about the rural road looked familiar or friendly. Tall, imposing trees and overgrown weeds choked the front of the dilapidated home. Windows were boarded up. There was a gaping hole where the front door had been. I shivered, wanting to be far away from here…wherever here was.

Walking felt harder than it should be, and I stumbled off the chilly asphalt, wincing as sharp gravel dug into my feet.


My bare feet?


I stopped and looked down. Chipped pink nail polish peeked through the dirt…and blood. Mud caked the legs of my pants, leaving the hems stiff. It made sense, seeing as how I wasn't wearing any shoes, but the blood…I didn't understand why there was blood staining the knees of my jeans.


My vision clouded and dulled, as if a gray film had been dropped over my eyes. As I stared at the weathered asphalt under my feet, large and smooth rocks replaced the tiny stones. Something dark and oily seeped over the rocks, slipping through the cracks.


Sucking in a sharp gasp, I blinked and the image was gone.


Hands trembling, I raised them. They were also covered with dirt and scratches. My nails were broken, bloodied. A silver ring wrapped, encased in soil, around my thumb. Air froze in my chest as my gaze crawled over my arms. The sleeves of my sweater were torn, revealing pale flesh covered in bruises and gashes. My legs started to shake as I swayed forward. I tried to remember how this had happened, but my head was empty—a black void where nothing existed.


A car drove by, coasting to a stop a few feet in front of me. Somewhere in the trenches of


my subconscious, I recognized the flashing red and blue lights as a source of safety. Elegantly scrawled along the black-and-gray side of the cruiser were the words ADAMS COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT.


Adams County? A flash of familiarity came and went.


The driver’s door opened, and a deputy stepped out. He said something into the radio on his shoulder before he looked at me.


“Miss?” He started around the cruiser, taking tentative steps. He looked young for a deputy. Barely out of high school and able to carry a gun seemed wrong somehow. Was I in high school? I didn't know. “We've received some calls into dispatch concerning you,” he said gently. “Are you okay?”


I tried to respond, but only a hoarse squeak came out. Clearing my throat, I winced as the motion scratched and pulled. “I…I don’t know.”


“Okay.” The deputy held up his hands as he approached me, as if I were a skittish deer about to bolt. “My name is Deputy Rhode. I’m here to help you. Do you know what you’re doing out here?”


“No.” Knots formed in my belly. I didn't even know where here was.


His smile strained. “What’s your name?”


My name? Everyone knew their name, but as I stared at the deputy, I couldn't answer his question. The knots started twisting more. “I don’t…I don’t know what my name is.”


He blinked, and the smile was completely gone. “You don’t remember anything?”


I tried again, concentrating on the empty space between my ears. That was how it felt.


And I knew that wasn't good. My eyes started to tear up.


“Miss, it’s okay. We’ll get you taken care of.” He reached out, lightly taking hold of my arm. “We’ll get this sorted.”


Deputy Rhode led me around the back of his cruiser. I didn't want to sit behind the Plexiglas, because I knew that wasn't good. Only bad people sat behind the glass in police cruisers. I wanted to object, but before I could say anything, he settled me into the seat and wrapped a coarse blanket around my shoulders.


Before he locked me in the bad part of the car, he knelt and smiled reassuringly. “Everything’s going to be okay.”


But I knew he was lying, trying to make me feel better. It didn't work. How could everything be okay when I didn't know my own name?