Feb 122016
 
Not Always (1)

Not Always Happenstance Product Description:

  • Title:Not Always Happenstance (Power of the Matchmaker Series)
  • Author: Rachael Anderson
  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: HEA Publishing (February 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1941363156
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
  • Reviewed By: Sheila

Book Description: Not Always Happenstance 
by Rachael Anderson
Lani has lived in Hana, Hawaii for five years. She’s learned to surf, fish, dive, and manage her grandmother’s bed and breakfast. She’s also learned to take one day at a time the way it should be taken—relaxed and unrushed, savoring every moment.
But, like a large wave on the brink of breaking, her life is about to crash out of control. A proposal of marriage, a conniving grandmother, a cryptic Asian woman, and a handsome guest, and suddenly everything calm begins to churn, everything clear becomes confused, and all that was normal segues into peculiar.
As Lani struggles against the current to hold her ground, she realizes that she can either continue to fight and eventually lose, or take a take a leap of faith, hold her breath, and ride the wave wherever it takes her.

My Review:
 Not Always Happenstance is the second full novel in the Power of the Matchmaker series. If you’ve read my other reviews so far of this series you know how much I love the character of Pearl, the matchmaker. I truly loved in this novel how she played a much bigger role. She was there throughout the book guiding the couple, Lani and Easton. Her words of wisdom and life experiences were told often to both of them.Her guidance was a moving force in Easton and Lani coming together.
Lani lives on Maui with her Grandmother where they run a Bed and Breakfast. Her life revolves around the B&B and kind of being engaged to a man from California who she has dated for many years. Easton is a  world wide traveler who writes about his experiences on his blog. When the two of them meet, they both are so closed off from the possibilities of true love that it takes some huge pushes from Pearl and Puna, Lani’s grandmother. The thing I liked the most about this clean romance was the slow buildup. It was all very realistic in the way they met, interacted and slowly opened up to one another. By the time they are getting closer you are so ready to see this happen. Lani and Easton both have secrets and insecurities like all people, and that seems to step into their way quite often. But with the fun things that happen and the wonderful banter between the two characters you fall in love with this story, the people of Maui, Puna, Lani and Easton.
I truly love the way that Rachael Anderson writes a romance. Her descriptive writing pulls you into the world of her characters and their inner most feelings. I felt that she gave equal coverage to both characters which helped you grow to understand them and their idiosyncrasies. You are pulling for them to get together as much as Pearl and Puna were.
I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I hope to go someday. If it is as beautiful and wonderful as it was written in this novel I know I will love it, and it’s people. This romance as I said is a slow burn, but don’t give up on it. Things really pick up about half way in and then you are totally hooked. This book has some wonderful tender moments with some great kisses by beautiful waterfalls and glorious beaches.
Not Always Happenstance is a wonderful ride in an exotic location, where you will be swept away with this romance and enlightened by the words of wisdom given by Pearl. My favorite thing she said was this, “Every experience-good and bad-has the power to mold and change us into something greater than we were before.” 
***This book is recommended for older teen and adults who love
 a sweet, clean romance.***
***This book is part of the Power of the Matchmaker series that features one recurring character—the match maker—but it is a STAND-ALONE novel.***

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RachaelMeet Author Rachael Anderson
A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

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Jan 222016
 

laymedown#2  28543486 Product Details

  •  Title:  Lay Me Down
  • Author: Tamara Hart Heiner
  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Tamark Books (January 15, 2016)
  • Genre: YA, Romance, Mystery, Supernatural
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0989088847
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review ARC in exchange for an honest review
  • Reviewed by:Sheila

Book Description:
Life is more than just breathing.

Kylee Mansfield knows what it is to be alone. Her dad left when she was seven, and her mother remarried an abusive alcoholic. Kylee finds ways to escape reality, usually by substituting one pain for another.

Things take a deadly turn when a jagged cut shows up on her arm, and she doesn’t know where it came from. She enlists her neighbor, Price Hudson, to help her uncover the truth. But Price shows her much more than just her past—he shows her what it is to be alive.

Excerpt from Lay Me Down:

 Kylee leaned against her bedroom door, her heart beating erratically. Even from here, she could hear Bill swearing and yelling in the living room. She squeezed her eyes shut. Why was he still going on? He should have forgotten about her by now.

“Please stay in the other room. Please stay in the other room,” she chanted to herself. She glanced down at her throbbing arm, noting the small rivulet of blood collecting in the corner of her elbow.

Her mom’s shouting mingled with Bill’s, and something large crashed into a wall. The single-story house rattled as Bill’s thundering footsteps approached.

“Kylee!” he roared, the full extent of his fury echoing in the one word.

She whimpered. Her eyes landed on the chair scooted against the wooden desk next to the closet. She lunged for it, intent on propping it under the doorknob like she had so many times in the past.

Barely had she vacated her spot by the door before it banged open, slamming into the opposite wall with its force. Kylee shrieked and spun around.

“I’m sorry,” she sputtered, her hands splayed out in front of her for protection. “I should have stayed out of it. I—”

He cut the rest of her apology off with a left hook to her jaw. Kylee stumbled backwards and went down to her knees, a little surprised she hadn’t seen that coming. Bill was angrier than usual.

*****Order Lay Me Down on Amazon HERE

My Review: 
I must preface this review by saying first: this review may be vague in what I can tell you about the story. The reason why is, I absolutely do not want to ruin the story for you. This book is so far one of the best I’ve read this year in 2016. It has a little of everything in it: romance, mystery, and supernatural. Quite a combination wouldn’t you say?

The story starts with us looking at the world through main character Kylee’s eyes. Her life is not easy. She lives with her browbeaten, druggie mom, and abusive stepfather Bill, in a rundown home. Kylee doesn’t go to public school anymore and is always in fear of her life because of Bill’s explosive temper. Kylee is cut off from her few friends and the rest of the world. She feels like she is non-existent and no one cares.To help her deal with the pain in her life she cuts herself.

It is amazing to me how this story is told so beautifully in such an ugly situation, but Author Tamara Hart Heiner is able to do so. You are pulled into Kylee’s world of emotional pain,verbal and physical abuse, and her longing to be loved.You will be mesmerized like I was as this story unfolds. This is one of those stories that you won’t be able to put down. You’ll be reading as fast as you can to figure out the many mysterious things that start occurring in Kylee’s life. 

The story brightens a bit when Kylee’s cute, new neighbor, Price Hudson, starts talking to her.He’s hesitant at first because of his own heartache he’s living through, but soon he can’t stay away from Kylee. Price soon shows her that the world can be a brighter and more loving place. They also form a friendship that can’t be broken. The two teens are quickly pulled into a supernatural world where they work together to figure something very important out. Price is a wonderful character that you will like because of his kindness and loyalty.

As you figure out what is truly going on, the tension in the story does not die down, it only builds. Time is running out for the mystery to be solved and both Kylee and Price are in danger. With the help of a Medium, Madame Humphrey, the story finally comes to an end with a shocking revelation. I was left with a feeling of contentment at the end, though the ride getting there was full of angst. This is a must read and I think I heard there may be a sequel. I hope it is true!

**I read this book with my teen daughter and we had some good discussions along the way. The story is for older teens and adults. There is some violence, blood, and mild gore within the book.** 

 
Meet Author: Tamara Hart Heiner 

I live in Arkansas with my husband and four children, two crazy boys and two pretty little princesses.

I am the author of the young adult suspense PERILOUS series (DELIVERER, PERILOUS, ALTERCATION, and a third book under contract!), INEVITABLE, and the Cassandra Jones saga. My non-fiction book about the Joplin tornado came out in May, 2014. You can find out more about what I’m writing and catch deleted scenes from my books on my blog at http://tamarahartheiner.blogspot.com.

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Jan 202016
 

27420580

Product Details

  • Title: Dumpsters & Dinosaurs
  • Author: Lois D. brown
  • Publisher: Levanter Publishing (February 26, 2015)
  • Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy(Ages 8-12)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1940576083
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
  • Reviewed by: Sheila

Book Description:
 Steven had never thought about where the Loch Ness monster or Big Foot came from until he found an old stone box with a secret beyond his wildest imagination. Unsure what to do about his discovery, Steven confides in the one perso
n he shouldn’t—one who is willing to do anything to have the box . . . even kill.

My Review:
Dumpsters & Dinosaurs is a perfect read for the 8-12 year old crowd. It is full of excitement, mystery and magic. The main character is Steven, a new kid who lives in Vernal, Utah whose family just moved there from Idaho.

There is much in this story for kids to relate to; bullies in the school, not always having enough money to buy the clothes you want, and having a hard time making friends and finding his place in the new town.

His family is short on money, so the whole family works together cleaning buildings to make money to live on. One of the buildings they clean is the field house in Vernal. The museum is where all of the mystery starts taking place. Steven finds all sorts of things, a body in a dumpster(thankfully it’s still alive), a mysterious box and other things. Soon, Steven is way too involved but luckily finds friends: a boy at school and a home-schooled girl from the public library, odd like him, that help him solve the mystery of what’s been going on at the field house. 

Kids in the 8-12 year range will love to read this short 180 page book. They will understand the humor and the narration is written in easily understood words. Lois Brown perfectly caught the characterization of a 12 year old boy. This book is fun and will be enjoyed by both boys and girls. 

Meet Author: Lois D. Brown 
Lois Brown received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked as a news correspondent in Washington, D.C. She later completed a Master’s degree in communications and started her own freelance business.

She has written nearly fifty articles and books, many of which are about nutrition and the use of natural food supplements. She worked as the chief editor to former New York Times best-selling author Dr. Neil Solomon, and she co-wrote a book on time management with former Miss America Sharlene Wells Hawkes.

Please visit her at her website, www.loisdbrown.com.
Lois D. Brown

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Jan 082016
 

broken things to mendProduct Details

  • Title: Broken Things to Mend
  • Author: Karey White
  •  Series: Power of the Matchmaker
  • Genre: Clean-Romance/Women’s Fiction
  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Karey White (December 9, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1941898106
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review
  • Review by: Sheila

Book Description:
 Celia is in desperate need of a change–a change of scenery, a change of pace, and a complete redo of all relationships. Not knowing what else to do, she opens a map, closes her eyes, and lets fate decide her future. Then she packs her meager belongings and buys a one-way ticket to a little town on the fringes of Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest called Sisters. She’s wanted a family for years. Will she find one in Sisters? What Celia doesn’t plan to find is a strange Chinese woman whose meddling ways keep throwing her in the path of a handsome, but reserved, forest ranger. But no matter how kind or dependable Silas seems to be, there are some things in Celia’s past that neither of them can escape, and this time, the damage might be too much to mend.  

 ***This book is part of a multi-author project that features one recurring character–the match maker–but it is a STAND-ALONE novel.***

My Review: 
It’s very rare that you read a novel where both main characters are so incredibly vulnerable. In Broken Things to Mend both Celia and Silas are broken in some way from tragic things in their past.

The beautiful Pearl, The Matchmaker, brings them together and then let’s them get to know each other. Pearl only has a small part in the novel, but she is still one of my favorite characters.

Celia, a runaway, has had a hard life and then finds out the consequences of what an act of brutality has done to her. Silas lost his parents as a child and also lost his confidence, as he became a loner with a stuttering problem. Both Celia and Silas have a hard time trusting each other at first, but after many months they can’t help but feel the attraction that is pulling them together. After things are revealed from Celia’s past, Silas has a hard time dealing with them.
Celia has to make a very important decision in her life and is very confused. This part of the book made me have such mixed emotions.

The ending of the book could have gone in different directions. The end also felt a little rushed when the two main characters make a decision. If I had been Celia, I truly can say I’m not sure what I would have done. As a reader you get so emotionally involved, and depending on your own experiences, you hope for Celia to make certain choices. I know that this may seem very confusing, but I do hate to give things away in a review. Let’s just say, this book will have your emotions bouncing all over the place. This book is a fast read and I kept reading every spare second I had. Broken Things to Mend is a beautiful first book in The Power of the Matchmaker series. It is a story showcasing redemption, acceptance, and love.
 

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Meet:Author Karey White 
Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist. She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

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Dec 212015
 
  Royal-Date51B5uYHUaaL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ Product Details

  • Title: Royal Date
  • Author: Sariah Wilson
  • Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
  • File Size: 1776 KB
  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Kindle Press (March 3, 2015)
  • Publication Date: March 3, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00QXUN5Y4
  • FTC,FYI: I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Book Description:

This Cinderella didn’t plan on a prince . . .

Kat MacTaggart is a girl who has a plan for everything—including her holiday ski trip to Monterra with her best friend. Everything is going according to plan until she finds herself careening out of control down a mountainside and being rescued by a guy who looks like Superman’s hotter Italian cousin.

HRH Prince Nico is intrigued by the woman he saved on the slopes and her refusal to date him. He offers Kat a deal—let him show her his country and he’ll pay her to write articles that will help Monterra’s tourism industry. Kat agrees, but given her past and lingering distrust of men, she has one condition—absolutely no kissing.

Thanks to the claims of a jealous British noblewoman and the schemes of a meddling paparazzo, Kat’s rule doesn’t seem to be a problem at first. But the more Kat gets to know Nico and the people around him, the harder it is to remember her keep-your-distance plan. Should she stick to it or risk everything for a chance at happily ever after?

Excerpt

          What was he doing with his fingers? Everywhere he touched me he left little pools of flame behind.
            He was unfairly using his masculine wiles against me, and I was stupidly giving in. I opened my eyes to see him studying me as he slowly ran his knuckles against my cheek. “So is that a yes?”
            “It will be a yes. I will pretend to date you, go where you want me to, write what you want me to write. On one condition.”
            He waited for me to continue.
            “No more kissing.”
           His hands stilled. “Ma che?” I guessed that was Italian for “What the frak did you just say?”
            “If you think about it, you want me to stay objective when I write the story, don’t you? So we should take kissing off the table, right?” I didn’t know if I was trying to convince him or me.
            “So you’re worried that my kisses will sway you and harm your objectivity?” He paused, as if considering. “That’s probably true.” He went back to lightly caressing me, and I worried that I might have to start planning my own funeral because I was dying.
            But I couldn’t let on just how much he affected me. “Full of yourself much?”
            He had his face close to mine, and I could feel his smile, hear it in his voice. He moved to put his lips right above mine. “You and I both know that I could prove as much right now.”
            Of all the things I expected him to do and say, the next thing to come out of his mouth was not one of them. “I can do that. If you don’t want me to kiss you, I won’t. I will wait until you ask me to.”
            Usually I would have been like, so not going to happen, but in this case . . . well, I hoped I was strong enough to stick to my guns.
            Nico ran his fingers through my hair, and I unconsciously tilted my head to lean into his open hand. “Am I allowed to still touch you? I’m not sure I can promise not to touch you.”
            “Uh . . .” I meant to say something. I did. He completely disrupted all of my brain waves.
            “Because it would seem you like touching me as well.” I opened my eyes and looked down. I had both of my hands on his bare chest. When had that happened? I didn’t even remember doing it. My hands obviously had minds of their own. I clenched them shut and put them back in my lap.
            “Touching is okay, I guess,” I said in that same breathy voice that I only had around him, and now felt like my new permanent one. To be fair, and putting aside the fact that I enjoyed it, Monterrans had repeatedly proven themselves to be an affectionate and kind of handsy people. I couldn’t exactly say no to him for something that was cultural, could I?
            Yes, even in my foggy haze I was aware of my pathetic attempts to justify and rationalize.
            “Good. Although I don’t know if it’s very fair to give a man a taste of heaven and tell him he can’t have it again.”
            My heart barreled against my chest as he did that thing where he ran his thumb gently over my lips, across my jawline, back to my lips. I sort of loved that. I would probably give up my firstborn child if we could just stay in this spot all night doing that.
            I was going to lose every last bit of resolve I had.
My Review:

Royal Date by Sariah Wilson has turned out to be one of my favorite reads of 2015. I started reading this New Adult, Contemporary Clean Romance and I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t want to put it down. The story is just that engaging and clever that you just want to keep reading until the very end. 

Main character Kat MacTaggart is smart, beautiful, and has a mind of her own, even despite her hard background growing up. She has decided that she is done with men, even if they are good looking and rich. Her first meeting with the handsome Nico is full of witty dialogue that makes you smile. You also can’t help but fall for Prince Nico right along with Kat. 

Kat,along with her sassy, southern best friend Lemon end up staying with Nico’s family after Kat’s skiing accident. I loved how the author portrayed the royal family from the fictional European country of Monterra. They were not overly stuffy, but very accepting of the woman who had stolen their elder son’s heart. I especially loved the relationship formed between Kat and Nico’s youngest sister.

This romance has no sex, but it does have some heavy sexual tension between Kat and Nico and some drool worthy kissing scenes. This is a modern fairy tale that makes you want to believe in romance and happy endings, but it still takes the whole book for this to happen. It’s not all happiness and roses as there is another story line with Nico’s younger sister and a drug problem. It is all handled very well though.

This Cinderella-style Romance is fluffy, has a very hot Prince, and is such a fun, easy read. If you like a good fairy tale that will sweep you off of your feet, this is the book for you.

Royal Date was selected for publication on Kindle Press  this past March 3, 2015, through Amazon’s Kindle Scout program and is currently available as an e-book. Wilson also now has a book deal with Amazon’s Montlake Romance imprint for two more books, one of which is a sequel to “A Royal Date”  called Royal Chase.

Booking her client, Prince Dante of Monterra, on reality show Marry Me is a royal coup for PR agent Lemon Beauchamp. But thanks to a last-minute glitch, Lemon must pretend to be one of the contestants vying to win the playboy prince’s love and then live happily ever after—at least until the publicity tour ends.

Prince Dante agreed to go on the show to find a wife, even though he already has the perfect candidate in mind. She’s smart, funny, sexy, and completely uninterested in wealth and fame. She’s also absolutely determined to keep him at arm’s length.

Even if Lemon weren’t already engaged, she can’t trust a notorious flirt like Dante. So she ignores the lingering looks. Those subtle, thrilling touches. That pulse-quickening kiss. Until suddenly, Lemon isn’t playing for the cameras. She’s lovestruck for real, and just maybe, the man behind the title is the one who’s always been in her heart.

Meet Author: Sariah Wilson 

Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters–which is why she writes romance. She has published five happily ever after stories. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University (go Cougars!) with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children. She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster that is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers).

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Dec 042015
 

I am so excited to be hosting a stop on the the Blog Tour for The Diamond Looking Glass by Dorine White hosted by Fire and Ice

the diamond looking glass

Product Details:

  • Title:The Diamond Looking Glass

  •   Author: Dorine White
  • Series: Cleopatra’s Legacy(Book 3)
  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (November 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1517580242
  • Reviewed by: Sheila
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Description:
Beauty and the Beast. The world knows it as a cartoon with dancing teacups and broomsticks. To twelve year old Claire La Fleur, it is family history, and the power behind Belle’s mirror is real. Every ten years her family gathers to see if the mirror will awaken, and for the last two hundred years it has slept. This time, Claire’s touch awakens the magic within the diamond looking glass, a direct portal to the past and a way to communicate with Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Egypt. The lure of power brings with it many perils, and a betrayal close to home thrusts Claire into a treacherous underworld. To protect the mirror, she travels into the Louvre museum in the dark of night, searches abandoned subway tunnels, and walks the catacombs of the dead. Welcome to Paris, France- where danger follows in every step. 

My Review:
This book has so many fun things in it like time travel, Fairy Tales(Beauty and the Beast-One of my favorites!), Egyptian lore; specifically to do with Cleopatra and five lost gemstones, and lots of magical elements. These are some of my favorites things to read about so I knew I would like this story. This book can be read as a stand alone, but to get the true flavor of this series, reading the first two books will make it a more enjoyable experience.

Main character Claire is feisty and adventurous and I loved as she set out to find out about the mysteries behind the old family mirror and Cleopatra’s gems. The setting is wonderful as it takes place in Paris, France, and the author supplies so many details you feel like you’re really there. Claire learns a lot about herself as she is tested, but remains true to herself and the family she loves, her older brother and parents. This story moves quickly and keeps the excitement levels ramped up. It was fun trying to guess what would happen as the story played out. There will be other books in the series, as the ending leaves you waiting and wanting more.

There are so many intriguing things about this book and this series. It is written for the middle grade crowd, but I know older teens and adults who like fantasy will also really enjoy The Diamond Looking Glass. 

Purchase:  Amazon * Goodreads

dorine whiteMeet Author Dorine White:

My name is Dorine White. I graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Humanities. I am a stay at home mom with 6 wonderful kids, and call the Northwest home. Writing wise, I am a member of the SCBWI, ANWA, LDS Storymakers and the PNWA. I write middle grade and YA fantasy. My first book, The Emerald Ring, was published May 2013 by Cedar Fort Books. In 2014 the second book was published, The Ruby Pendant. The third book in the series, The Diamond Looking Glass, is due out Oct 2015 from Skyrocket Press. My first YA fantasy novel, The Awakening, came out in 2014 from Skyrocket Press. Author Website * Blog- The Write Path * Twitter @Dorinewhite * Facebook Author Page

fire&ice

The Blog Tour Giveaway

A $25 Amazon gift code and copies of all three books: The Emerald Ring, The Ruby Pendant and The Diamond Looking Glass.   a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Excerpt 1
Claire looked up at the clock. The second hand seemed to creep around it in slow motion, and the five minutes left until the end of the school day dragged on. She looked down at her history handout. Instead of answers, she’d drawn pictures. If any of the other students saw her page, they’d laugh, amused that Claire still liked fairy tales. La Belle et Le Bête. Beauty and the Beast. The world knew it only as a fairy tale from a famous animated film. To twelve-year-old Parisian Claire La Fleur, it was family history. This weekend everybody in the family would be remembering that history, from the great-aunt three times removed, to the cousin nobody had heard from in a decade. This was the weekend of the reunion, the time of the choosing. And Claire could now participate. A small piece of paper hit her in the cheek. She looked up, and Pierre nodded his head toward the teacher, but his hint came too late. Claire had been caught not paying attention. “Mademoiselle Claire,” said Professeur LeBlanc. “Would you like to share the answer with the class?” Claire squirmed in her chair and then looked at Pierre for help. He gestured at the whiteboard. Claire’s eyes scanned the teacher’s notes. The words “Ancient Egypt” were scrawled across the gleaming surface, but she had no idea what the teacher had asked. “Anyone?” he questioned, turning from Claire with a frown. A hand shot up in the front of the classroom. “Oui. Yes, Margeritte?” the teacher asked. Claire clenched her teeth in an attempt not to groan. She should have known that Margeritte would jump on the question. The two were running neck and neck in becoming premier étudiant, first student, among twelve-year-olds, and Claire knew if she let her guard down even a little, Margeritte would catch up. “The land of the dead was ruled over by Osiris,” stated Margeritte. “Oui,” said Professeur LeBlanc. Just then the bell rang. Darn it! Why hadn’t it rung one minute earlier? Then Margeritte would not have scored the class point, Claire thought. She scuffed the toes of her shoes against the floor. “That’s not like you,” said Pierre. He stood in front of Claire’s desk, waiting for her to gather her things. “I know. I know,” sighed Claire. “This weekend’s got me freaking out.” Pierre ran his hand through his brown, wavy hair, moving strands out of his gray eyes. “You’re lucky you held it together until now, or your perfect grades would suffer.” “They’re not perfect. They’re just good.” “You’re the top student in the class,” said Pierre. “Call it what you want.” “Well,” said Claire. She picked up her books and stuck them into her satchel. “Margeritte scored big with her answer.” “Only because you spaced out.” Claire winced. “Come on. Let’s go.”

Excerpt 2:
Together they hurried up a set of stairs and into a room filled with coffins and mummies. “This just keeps getting better and better,” said Claire. But, even she couldn’t complain about the amazing beauty of the golden sarcophagi and their bold colorful engravings. Through an archway, Claire could see into the next gallery running parallel to theirs. Along the wall, covered by glass cases, rested pages from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Without meaning to, Claire began walking toward the display. She heard rhythmic voices in her head and had no doubt they spoke the words from the tablets. The voices began chanting, their words rising and falling like music. “Hey, Claire, this way,” said Jean-Luc. “Did you hear that?” “Hear what? Hurry up.” Claire snapped out of her stupor, shaking her head in confusion. She moved to Jean-Luc’s side and followed him past the rows of coffins. Claire was still wondering about the voices she’d heard and started when she heard shuffling behind her. When she turned, nobody was there. “Is anyone behind us?” she asked her brother. “No, we’re the last. Come on.” Claire scooted down the hallway, but couldn’t get rid of the feeling that someone was following her. She glanced over her shoulder. The remains of a mummy turned her way, pieces of faded yellow wrapping coming undone. What? She focused on the mummy, but this time it was still. Weird, she thought. She grabbed her brother’s hand as they ran. Finally they made it through the exhibit and caught up with everyone waiting for them in the crypt of the sphinx. The director sniffed as they came into the room, and then turned away. “We’re heading to the lower level and into the remains of the medieval Louvre,” he said. “The first part is open to tourists, but once we pass into the restricted level, watch your step.” They walked into a long curving hallway. The stone walls resembled a castle’s exterior, rough and patchy. The air smelled damp and sweet, and Claire sucked in a huge breath. “The fortress was built by Phillip Augustus to protect Paris from attack via the Seine River,” said the director. “You are walking along what used to be the moat.” Claire reached out her hand to feel the roughness of the stones by her side. She let her fingers trail along as she followed the group into a large room filled with arched entryways. Short columns decorated with stone palm fronds sprouted up from the floor. “This is the Salle of Saint-Louis, and to the rest of the world, it is the end of the tour. But follow me, we shall descend one floor lower,” said the director. Down they went, completely surround by heavy rock. The floor became uneven and the lights flickered as they descended. Then they came to an ultra-modern steel door. The director punched in a series of numbers, leaned over to let a red beam scan his eye, and then he pushed the handle of the vault. The door opened with a hiss of air. Heading through the door, Claire stepped into a rotunda. The circular wall before her anchored several steel doors, each the personal vault of someone high up and prestigious. The director led them to one door at the end. Jean-Luc stepped forward and entered the La Fleur family code into the keypad. Again, Claire heard the hiss of air as the door opened. She stepped around her brother, squeezing past several of the guards to get a better view. There wasn’t much to see—just wooden crates and jewelry boxes. Then she looked at the far wall, and she finally understood all the fuss. The oval mirror rested upright against a bed of black velvet. It looked like an old-fashioned, round handheld mirror, with the exception of the large round diamond attached to its handle. They all stood there looking, nobody moving, but then Claire heard a small hum. She looked around, but could not uncover the source of the sound. As the hum grew louder, everybody in the room noticed it, and began looking around, too. Then, the mirror started to vibrate, shaking itself spastically upon its velvet bed. Claire’s eyes widened as she watched the mirror inch off its stand. Then, she ducked as the mirror shot straight off the velvet and cruised right at her head. Jean-Luc reached out with an easy hand and snatched it. The mirror quieted, going still in his grasp.

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