Emblaze: The Violet Eden Chapters, Book 3 (110)

Title: Emblaze15835021

Series:The Violet Eden Chapters, Book3

Author: Jessica Shirvington

Length:450

Published: March 5, 2013

Description of the Book:

Once again Violet Eden faces an impossible choice … and the consequences are unimaginable.

Violet has come to terms with the fact that being part angel, part human, means her life will never be as it was.

Now Violet has something Phoenix – the exiled angel who betrayed her – will do anything for, and she has no intention of letting it fall into his hands. The only problem is that he has something she needs too.

Not afraid to raise the stakes, Phoenix seemingly holds all the power, always one step ahead. And when he puts the final pieces of the prophecy together, it doesn’t take him long to realise exactly who he needs in order to open the gates of Hell.

With the help of surprising new allies, ancient prophecies are deciphered, a destination set and, after a shattering confrontation with her father, Violet leaves for the islands of Greece without knowing if she will have a home to return to…

Pre-Read: OMG I just couldn’t wait to read it so I started right after i read Entice

Overall Thoughts:

This book was good not great but good. This book three finds Violet going from one extreme to another. She has to find a way to get the Grigori scripture back along with keeping the exile scripture away from Phoenix the scorned lover. This book brought things to another level you got to see how torn up Violet is after the events in Entice. Phoenix is using every little dirty trick he has up his sleeve. I loved that the prologue was in Evelyn’s P.O.V. so you could get some insight on how she was feeling when Violet was born. Then in a later chapter you get to see a little more into Phoenix’s real feelings. I loved this so much because it shows his humanity that he is trying to hide. I think that if he had just been honest with Violet and actually had been a friend things would have been different. Then Lincoln always fighting his connection with violet kills me because I know now that it kills him. It just bugs me I think they should risk it all because they both want it. Then there is Josephine I just don’t like her she annoys me I want to slap her seriously she is off. She gives off that same vibe Magda gave. I just can’t stop think about what Onyx and Dapper said that it’s not as simple as good or evil. This book introduced all sorts of new people who made me rethink what I thought I knew. I know that the next one will be interesting I can’t wait til October…. So far but so close. This book was good as I said before. It sets you up for things to get a little more crazy and finally a way for I believe Violet and her father to find some closure with her mother and the choices that she made. I recommend it to any one who has read the series and loved it.

Rating: 4/5

Happy Reading

Jess

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Dash & Lilly’s Book of Dares (109)

Title:Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares9810397

Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithon

Read By: Ryan Gessel & Tara Sands

Length: 6:40: 36

Published: October 26,2010

Description of the Book:

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Co-written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, co-author of WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON with John Green (LET IT SNOW, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS), DASH & LILY’S BOOK OF DARES is a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Pre-Read: Seems like it will be funny and sweet

While Reading: 

  • Dash makes me want to laugh
  • Lily is hilarious
  • When I doubt eat carbs
  • I so love Lily
  • OMG they are perfect for each other
  • Dash seems sad
  • I so would have been attracted to Dash in high school
  • Haha this book is funny
  • Haha Lily’s brother reminds me of my brother
  • I love how Lily love christmas
  • I don’t find Lily to be weird
  • Awe
  • Awe they would be perfect for each other
  • OMG she likes him cause he’s geeky
  • I love love love the way Lilly talks
  • Dash makes me want to read a OED lol
  • Hahaha I love Lily
  • Dash is perfect
  • …..I Think Dash knows Edgar
  • I love this book ever so much
  • Hahaha
  • I love Lily’s logic
  • Awe they complete each other.

Overall Thoughts:

I love this story. It was written sweetly and quirky. Te whole thing brings you into this amazing book of dares. (obviously hence the title) I love that they found each other so randomly all because of a notebook. I love the thought that they are a mystery to each other. This is a short yet sweet story about finding the possible right one in a world full of so many people who don’t fit with you. It has laughter and good old-fashioned romance. I love the way Lily’s family is with her especially great-aunt Ida. I would like to believe that I would be the same way with my nieces and nephews. I know I will be that way with my children wanting someone who could see the unique parts about them and fall in love with that. I love that Dash who is so different from Lily finds himself reviling things about himself that he could not say before just like Lily. This whole book was just written flawlessly. It makes you want to fall in love with the idea of love. The moment where you can see reality for what it is and fantasy as it is. That is what this book is it takes the dream guy or girl in a person’s head and makes them seem a little more attainable but also that they may not be out there but there is someone who will make you feel like your perfect the way you are. This is a great contemporary romance novel for people of any age well not an elementary school aged kid due to the fact that well there is the occasional curse word. I do recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction and loves a bit of romance.

Rating:5/5

Quote(s) I Love:

“But whether or not you are here, you are here because these words are for you, and they wouldn’t exist if you weren’t here in some way.”

“You have to trust the words. They do not create anything more than themselves.”

“With all due respect, if you’re forty-three, then I’m a fetus.”

“The universe doesn’t decide what’s right or not right. You do.”

“Things change all the time, mostly in little ways. That’s how it goes, I guess.”

“You bookish little pervert.”

“It’s only a game if there is an absence of meaning. And we’ve already gone too far for that.”

Happy Reading!

Always Jess

 

P.S.

This was my first Rachel Cohn & David Levithen Novel. I am so reading Nick & Nora next 🙂

Entice: The Violet Eden Chapters, Book 2 (108)

Title:Entice15942622

Series:The Violet Eden Chapters

Author: Jessica Shirvington

Length:438

Published:March 1,2013

Description of the Book:

CONSEQUENCE HAUNTS EVERY CHOICE

Violet Eden is Grigori – part angel, part human. Her destiny is to protect humans from the vengeance of exiled angels.
Knowing who to trust is key but, when Grigori reinforcements arrive, it becomes clear everyone is hiding something. Even Lincoln. The only thing Violet does know: Phoenix’s hold over her is more dangerous than ever.
The race to find the one thing that could tilt the balance of power brings them all to the sacred mountains of Jordan, where Violet’s power will be pushed to the extreme. And the ultimate betrayal exposed.

Enticed is the second compelling book in The Violet Eden Chapters

Pre-Read:I love the cover. I cant wait to dive in

Thoughts While Reading:

prologue:I want to know what it means. Why do you have to start the book that way?

Chapter 1:I love Lincoln. I love that Violet is so brave.

Chapter 2: OMG! Onyx!

Chapter 3: Why can’t they be together?

Chapter 4: I hate that they can’t be together ugh :/

Chapter 5: Phoenix -.- (It’s a love hat thing)

Chapter 6: I’m curious about these new people

Chapter 7: I just don’t like Magda

Chapter 8: Hahah leap frog

Chapter 9: I don’t think violet was fair to Lincoln

Chapter 10: OMG they have crazy powers

Chapter 11: 0.0

Chapter 12: Wow this book gets better and better

Chapter 13:I like Rudyard and Nyla

Chapter 14: OMG things are getting crazy

Chapter 15: Lincoln gets me mad at the moment

Chapter 16: Wow Lincoln just wow

Chapter 17: Love this book

Chapter 18: Dun Dun Don

Chapter 19: Spence is just stupid. Wow Violet just wow

Chapter 20: poor Griffin

Chapter 21: Its to easy

Chapter 22: Magda is up to something

Chapter 23: Three things:

  1. Magda is a skitch
  2. Yay Vi and Lincoln
  3. Something is off with Spence and Magda

Chapter 24: Ok why does Phoenix always show up at the worse times. Spence has a death wish i swear

Chapter 25: Griffin knows something

Chapter 26: I wish Nox would just tell violet what he means

Chapter 27: I think I know why violet is having a hard time with fighting

Chapter 28: SHM

Chapter 29: Magda knows too much about Violet & Phoenix

Chapter 30: 0.0

Chapter 31: He loves her

Chapter 32: Ok so I want to cry in a corner so sad

Chapter 33: I knew it. She’s a total Skitch

Chapter 34: They can’t even grieve for their lose 😥

Chapter 35: 0.0

Overall Thoughts:

Ok so this book was just wow. Violet is a whole new person. Shes started to hunt exiles with Lincoln. She is keeping well I should say trying to keep her emotions in check for him. Things start to get more intense with the return of Phoenix who happens to be back with a vengeance. Lincoln is on a vendetta thanks to Magda while the whole world is falling apart leaving violet feeling powerless. I love Violet she is one of my favorite female leads. She was once a victim then decided that she wasn’t going to be that girl. I love how even when she’s afraid she is willing to stick it out. She is willing to fight for the people she loves. The thing I don’t like about violet is that she doesn’t have the will to truly fight for herself. I know your probably wondering what I mean by this. My thought is that she will take the world on for any one but when it comes to really looking into her soul doing the search that needs to be done. She chooses to do nothing. She cant face what is breaking her heart she cant say what needs to be said. In a ways she reminds me of the song say by John Mayer. She is this amazing person that could be great but she is always fighting herself. She is just a lost girl. That is what I think when I think of Violet she is a great as a warrior but she is broken. Jessica Shirvington is talented as a writer. I love reading this series it shows an amazing world that no one would ever see. It is a great read that I would recommend to anyone who loves a good angel book. Though I don’t really think of it as an angel book.

Rating:5/5

Happy Reading!

Jess

Its Monday! What are you reading? (10)

itsmonday

Hello all you fiddle fadlers out there. I know i know it has been for ever since i have posted a Monday post but it is back with a vengeance :0

First let me tell you what you can expect this week.

  1. A review of Entice by Jessica Shirvington aka The Violet Eden Chapters Book 2
  2. A review of Emblaze also by Jessica Shirvington AKA The Violet Eden Chapters Book 3
  3. A review for Dash and Lilly’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  4. A Review of The Seeker by Melinda Metz Aka Roswell High Book 3
  5. My day themes will be back 🙂

 

Which now brings me to the good stuff. ITS MONDAY!!!!

Emblaze

15835021The book I am currently reading is Emblaze. Which as you read will have a review up this week I started yesterday. The reason I wanted to read this book is well I have read the first books in the series and I must say this series is just amazing. I am in awe of Violet Eden as a main. I think I love it mainly because I can feel for her and how she has to carry the world on her shoulders. I love her friendships and how she is so willing to fight for who she loves. The first to books left me craving to read the next one as soon as possible. So after I read Entice I began Emblaze like right after that’s how bad I wanted to read it. So here I am rambling about how I love this series so far. I will have the review up by end of week if not sooner I plane to have finished reading the book by tonight or tomorrow. I cant wait to share my thoughts with you. 🙂

 

 

Synopsis for Emblaze from Goodreads

Once again Violet Eden faces an impossible choice … and the consequences are unimaginable.

Violet has come to terms with the fact that being part angel, part human, means her life will never be as it was.

Now Violet has something Phoenix – the exiled angel who betrayed her – will do anything for, and she has no intention of letting it fall into his hands. The only problem is that he has something she needs too.

Not afraid to raise the stakes, Phoenix seemingly holds all the power, always one step ahead. And when he puts the final pieces of the prophecy together, it doesn’t take him long to realise exactly who he needs in order to open the gates of Hell.

With the help of surprising new allies, ancient prophecies are deciphered, a destination set and, after a shattering confrontation with her father, Violet leaves for the islands of Greece without knowing if she will have a home to return to…

 

Dash and Lilly’s Book of Dares

9810397Now to what I am listing to Dash and Lilly’s Book of Dares The reason I am listening to this book. well because it seemed like it would be a sweet read well listen. I did originally intend to read it but I have discovered that audio books are great for when your running around having to take care of a million things at once and would rather have your nose in a book. Which i would rather always do but sadly there is no job as a professional reader. So back to the book it seems like it will be a sweet and funny novel so far i have just started it. So far i love Lilly she is awesome. So i cant wait to get back to you with my crazy thoughts.

Synopsis for Dash & Lilly’s Book of Dares from Goodreads

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Co-written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, co-author of WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON with John Green (LET IT SNOW, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS), DASH & LILY’S BOOK OF DARES is a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

 

 

So there you it is Monday what are you reading please do share. 🙂

Happy Reading

Always Jess

 

 

The Feast of Fools: Morganville Vampires, Book 4 (107)

Title: Feast of Fools544257

Series: Morganville Vampires, Book 4

Author: Rachel Caine

Length:256

Released: June 3rd, 2008

Description of the Book:

The wait is over. dig into the feast…
In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans live in relative peace. Student Claire Danvers has never been convinced, though-especially with the arrival of Mr. Bishop, an ancient, old-school vampire who cares nothing about harmony. What he wants from the town’s living and its dead is unthinkably sinister. It’s only at a formal ball, attended by vampires and their human dates, that Claire realizes the elaborately evil trap he’s set for Morganville.

Pre-Read:I want to know what bishop is up to

Thoughts While Reading:

Chapter One

Ok I get that you’re a big bad vampire but seriously you’re a guest act like it

Chapter Two

Ok so if Amile and Oliver are agreeing that means that the new vampires are bad news

Chapter Three

Claire is having a few crappy days I want to hug her. Then poor Shane being molested pretty much by a vampire so gross especially the one there.

Chapter Four

Ok so is it make sure all the people in glass house have crappy days week. First Claire then Shane now Eve. Yeah this book is about to get really good. So excited.

Chapter Five

I hoe they can cure Myrnin he’s just awesome it would suck to lose him.

Chapter Six

I feel for Eve she just never got the kind of love she deserved from her family. Then poor Shane he has a vampire stalker and then for her to flaunt in front of Claire. I wish i could stake her myself. I love hoe Claire is more confident in each book.

Chapter Seven

Is it weird that I wish I could hear Micheal plat. Then poor Miranda she’s like twelve ok well she’s a little older but still I want to hug her. I love Claire’s mom for saying she’s proud of her.

Chapter Eight

 1. Micheal sucks for not taking Eve

2. Shane needs to be slapped

3. Clare can be brave but stupid

Chapter Nine

I get the felling when they say feast they mean a vampire all you can eat buffet

Chapter Ten

Claire is crazy how can she just go along with his plane. Some is going to die you can just feel it

Chapter Eleven

0.0 I love Claire and Myrnin’s costumes. The power play thing is crazy. I’m excited to see what happens next

Chapter Twelve

Awe Myrnin is like just awe

Chapter Thirteen

Thing just got real.

Overall Thoughts:

This book wowed me. I loved every moment Rachel Caine makes things more intense every time you read a book in this series. I love that Claires has so much fight in her.This book brings Morganville to a darker place you are left wondering if they are going to be able to find away out of this mess. The fourth book lets you see the four main people in a new light. Micheal trying to hold on to his humanity and protect his friends from the monster he has become. You see how he is still struggling with the choice he made that fact that he needed freedom and had to protect his friends who have really become his family. Then you have Eve who seems so confident but she finally shows how insecure she can feel at times. Then you have Shane who is always brave and strong. You can see that he really is afraid of things. Then Claire who everyone thinks is fragile yeah right. She shows how hard she really will fight for the people she loves and for what she believes in. I love how the plot thickens and it get a little more frightening. This book was a great addition to the series. I cant wait to read the next book in the series. if you have yet to read this series what are you waiting for?

Rating:

5/5

Happy Reading

Jess

 

Chapter Faddle:Sampler~ The Secret Ingredient By Stewart Lewis (29)

1-34b64ac27e

“Kissed with hope and possibility . . . the sort of book that makes you believe in the magic of everyday life and love.” —Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds

THE SECRET INGREDIENT

S T E WA R T L E W I S
author of YOU HAVE SEVEN MESSAGES

CHAPTER SAMPLER

THE SECRET INGREDIENT
Stewart Lewis

DELACORTE PRESS

iii

KEEP READING FOR A SNEAK PEEK . . .

CHAPTER 1

Every day is sunny in Los Angeles, but it’s not exactly paradise. Yes, there are movie stars and palm trees, but there’s also an area downtown called “skid row” where people live in a city of cardboard boxes, and it looks like some sort of war is going on. Bell, who is one of my dads, owns a restaurant, and sometimes we drive by skid row on our way to get the flowers that go on the tables. He named the restaurant FOOD, following the somewhat annoying trend of creating simple one-word names for places. It’s sandwiched between a bookstore called Book and a coffee shop called Bean. A different approach might have been more interesting, like a Laundromat called Not Responsible for Lost Socks. There actually is a Laundromat near the restaurant, where I’ve been doing my whole family’s
1

laundry since I was eight. It doesn’t have a sign, just a big brown triangle with a box of what looks like vintage detergent painted on it. Bell’s been letting me cook the special at FOOD every Saturday, and lately, as I’ve been expanding my palate and my menu, my dishes have become more popular. Some customers only come in on Saturday, and although Bell’s definitely proud, and doesn’t do much of the cooking anymore anyway, I think he’s a little jealous of my success. The current chefs don’t really mind—in fact, they get a kick out of it. One even asked me for my coleslaw recipe (shh, it’s the jalapeño). Bell has loved cooking his whole life, but he’s been struggling with the restaurant for some time now. After the recession, people lost their taste for fi ne cuisine and, due to financial necessity or lingering prudence, are continuing to choose quantity over quality. The In-N- Out Burger on Sunset always looks like a rock concert, while you can hear crickets in the little boutique eateries. I’m not sure how bad the situation really is, but the other night I went into FOOD to prepare a marinade and it seemed like no one was there except the janitor. I realized I needed basil, so I headed for the walk-in cooler, opening the heavy silver door to fi nd Bell crying on top of a crate of potatoes. “Dad?” “It’s the onions,” he said, both of us knowing that was a lie—the onions are prepped in the morning by the dishwashers. I took Bell’s hand and walked him out of the cooler, sat him down at the chef’s table, and poured him a
2

glass of the cheap cabernet I was using for my marinade. I knew things were pretty bad, because even though he isn’t rich by any means, Bell rarely drinks cheap wine. By his second sip I caught a hint of a grin. The thing about Bell is, he hardly ever says what he means, and I’m beginning to notice this pattern in other people as well. Everyone seems to have this duality about them: how they feel as opposed to what they’re saying. Sometimes words are only clues—you have to put them together while reading the maps of people’s faces. I’m pretty good at it when it comes to my family. After he finished his wine, Bell stood up and held out his arms. I put down the lemon I was zesting and let him hug me, breathing in the musky scent of his cologne mixed with a hint of garlic—home. “Are they going to take it all away?” I asked him. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and shook his head, as if everything was fine, but I knew that was not the case. I had heard my dads fighting about the mortgage more than once, and I knew the bank people had come into the restaurant. For the fi rst time in my life, I didn’t know if Bell could make everything good again, if he could protect us from the world.

My name is Olivia, but everyone calls me by different nicknames. The only time anyone in my family uses my real name is when they’re serious, or mad at me, which is
3

not very often. I’ve always gotten good grades, and I’m not one of those teenagers who act out. I’m sixteen going on seventeen, like the song. When I was little, Bell and I used to watch The Sound of Music all the time, and I always thought my mother, who gave me up when I was two days old, might have looked like Julie Andrews. I have reddish hair and blue eyes like her, but I’m definitely not an actress. Bell says I’m like a fi ne wine. If you want to get to know me the right way, you have to let me breathe first. My older brother, Jeremy, is the opposite, very in-yourface. We’re not blood related, but Bell adopted us from the same agency one year apart from each other. At the time, same-sex parents couldn’t adopt as easily as they can today, but he got approved pretty quickly both times, as one of his former employees ran the agency. Bell moved in with Enrique, my other dad, soon after he adopted Jeremy. Enrique is not always the most reliable person, but he has many wonderful qualities. When you live in an imperfect, mismatched family like mine, you understand that love is about more than just blood. My dads raised me, took care of me when I was sick, taught me to walk, and read me to sleep every night. They are in my bones, a part of who I am. I can’t imagine loving my birth parents any more. Still, lately I’ve started to feel like something’s missing. I’ve found myself wondering what would have happened if my mother hadn’t given me up. It’s hard to picture not being with my family, but it’s easy to imagine myself in
4

another life, in a more conventional household in the suburbs of some city where the lawns are manicured and I go on mother-daughter excursions with Julie Andrews. Bell always says we don’t choose our family, and even if I had a choice, I’d choose Bell, Enrique, and Jeremy. But if I could change one thing, I would add a mother, even if only for short periods of time— someone who could, I don’t know, take me to get my hair cut or something. Instead, the closest thing I’ve had to a mother is Enrique. Even though he’s technically a man, Enrique is very nurturing. When I was five, I stepped on a stingray at the public beach in Malibu, and it changed my life. I haven’t been in the ocean since, and it sort of formed the person I was growing up: shy, a little different, and slightly removed in a city in which the ocean is such a big part of everyone’s lives. Bell didn’t seem to understand and took a passive approach to the Stingray Trauma, as it came to be called, but Enrique knew instinctively what I was going through and what to do. And not just because he grew up on the sea in Mexico and had a similar experience with a sand shark. From then on, whenever we went to the beach, Enrique would come up with all these elaborate games to play, none of which involved swimming. And he would take me to his friend’s pool in the Hollywood Hills as a gateway to get me into the ocean again. It didn’t work, but I did learn to swim well, and those afternoons in the pool with Enrique, nothing could touch me. Watching the valley below, sipping iced tea, floating on the inflatable
5

rafts . . . I usually felt a little left of center, but being there with Enrique and the way he would look at me with pure, open love made me feel like the center of the world, which I guess is what mothers do.

I just finished my junior year at Silver Lake High. It’s the first day of summer and, I hope, the day I finally get a job. In the past, I’ve waited tables for Bell, but business isn’t exactly booming this year, so he doesn’t need the extra help. I’ve been interviewing at different retail places, since I figure I should get something to put on my résumé that doesn’t involve food, but I never seem to be a “good fit” for them. Maybe because my only work experience has been in Bell’s restaurant. I have this feeling, though, that today is going to be different. Today, I have an interview that Enrique set up, at a casting agency his friend runs. I get out of bed and walk over to the window. This morning my room has an orange glow to it. When the ball of red sun peeks over the horizon line east of our hill, it tends to wake me up— especially when I forget to shut my blinds. I slide the window open and hear the familiar sounds of birds and cars whizzing by in the distance, on the 101 freeway. A strange juxtaposition, but they seem to balance each other out. If someone asked me what L.A. sounds like, I would say birds and traffic. I walk over to my dresser, slip on my vintage dress with the little blue flowers on it, and grab the champagne6

colored sunglasses I bought at the Gas N Go for $3.99. They’re a little indie rock for me, but I do look very Silver Lake, the area between Hollywood and downtown where we live. It’s an offbeat, mostly Hispanic neighborhood that has a certain beauty, like a colorful but shabby reallife version of a montage from a hipster fi lm. With the crazy mix of musicians, leather queens, yuppies, Mexicans, and bohemians (and some people who are all these in one), there’s a feeling of acceptance. And Silver Lake is just known as being a cool place. I go downstairs and find Enrique sleeping on the couch, which makes me a little uneasy. He was a dancer for the Mexico City Ballet, and his mangled feet are sticking out of the blanket. People think dancers are so elegant and graceful, and they are, but there’s an underbelly to it all. He’s had two operations on his knees, and his feet, well, let’s just say they’re not too pretty. I cover them up and quietly shuffle toward the kitchen. I start to boil some water for eggs, and I feel my uneasiness begin to drift away with this familiar act. Poaching eggs is harder than you might think. The key is to put a little bit of vinegar in the water, to keep the egg from losing its shape. And I know it’s a cliché, but this is a case in which timing is everything. I decide to also make what I call Red Is the New Black Potatoes. I take lots of fresh garlic and sauté it with extra-virgin olive oil. Then I slice some new red potatoes so thin they’re just slivers. I fry them slowly until they’re blackened at the edges. There’s a fine line between blackened and burnt, and I know where
7

that line is. It’s all about texture. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing worse than undercooked breakfast potatoes. You know, the watery, tasteless kind you get in a diner? “Quelle horreur,” Bell would say. Enrique’s phone rings, and I can’t believe how quickly he gets it together, answering like he’s been up for hours. I can tell it’s a work call. He’s a freelance stylist now, which means he buys clothes for actors. Sometimes I go with him, and he lets me pick out stuff too. The shows he’s involved with are pretty low-budget, but once he worked on a movie that was shot in Hawaii and starred Demi Moore. We all thought his career would take off after that, but he just went back to doing bad reality shows and working with his soap opera clients, living paycheck to paycheck. If you ask me, I’d say Enrique was in his prime when he was dancing all over the world. Being a stylist is just something he ended up doing. He doesn’t even like nice clothes for himself—he basically wears khakis and polo shirts, which seems like an obvious play to defy stereotypes. His name is Enrique, not Biff, and even though he looks the part, he will never go sailing in Nantucket. He comes into the kitchen and picks at my potatoes. “Ollie, these are dreamy-like.” “Thanks, Papá.” Even though Enrique has been in America for almost twenty years, he still has his own way of speaking. Most people find it charming, but Bell tends to correct him. I place my poached eggs on seven-grain toast, garnish them with fresh Pecorino, sprinkle some rosemary on my
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potatoes, and sit down by the kitchen window. Every time I finish cooking a dish, I feel this swell in my chest when I look at the finished product, at this thing that I’ve created. We skimp on everything in our house except food; I need my supplies if I’m going to do what I do best. Enrique makes a smoothie, pours us each a glass, and joins me. A few minutes later, Bell comes in and goes straight for the coffeemaker. His hair seems to be living in a different area code than his head. Thick and wavy, it has a little gray in it, but Enrique says it’s one of Bell’s best physical qualities, and he always has his hands in it, though not as much recently. Bell doesn’t look at either of us and just says, “Monday, Monday.” I need a job, not just to help out with money, but because, as much as I love our little house, it can also feel like the walls are closing in, especially when my dads are acting distant toward each other. And now that Jeremy has moved out, I have no one to roll my eyes with. Jeremy is eighteen and thinks he’s going to be a rock star. He’s been playing gigs since he was fifteen, basically anywhere they’ll book him. He’s roommates with his drummer, a janitor named Phil who Bell calls “a real winner.” Neither of our dads were too happy when Jeremy announced that he was deferring college for a year to try and get a record deal, but they’re doing their best to be supportive. Jeremy practices all the time, and his latest demo is actually pretty good. He also had a decent crowd the last time he played at Silver Lake Lounge. Bell kisses my head, then heads out to the restaurant. I
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asked Enrique not to tell him about the interview in case it doesn’t work out, so he doesn’t know to wish me luck. Enrique is running out too and gives me a secret thumbsup sign and mouths “Go for it.” I finish my breakfast and leave my dish in the sink. One thing I don’t like about cooking is doing dishes. But the great thing is if you cook for someone, they will most likely beg to do the dishes for you. And although Enrique always leaves dried toothpaste in the sink and his polo shirts draped over all the chairs, he loves my cooking and is pretty good at “washing up,” as my best friend, Lola, would say. Lola’s from England and knows a lot more about the world than I do. I’m meeting her for coffee before my interview to take my mind off it. Before I leave, I go to my room and switch to my black sunglasses. If I’m going to get a job, I need to look a little older and exude confidence. I look in the mirror, trying to see a different side of myself. When I was little I didn’t talk much, but one day in third grade, when we got to make cinnamon rolls with the sixth graders in home ec, my teacher told my dads I wouldn’t shut up. That was when Bell started cooking at home with me. The next day we made pastries from scratch, and for the first time, something clicked, and I became fascinated by how incredible it is to make something from practically nothing. I realized that almost everything starts in a bowl, with flour and eggs— it begins with the human hand. My whole outlook on food changed. Ever since then, cooking has felt
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like the most natural thing. It’s also a way to get out of my head for a while. Some people find it tedious, but for me, it’s an escape. Plus, when I see someone’s eyes slowly shut in bliss after a bite of something I made, it makes me feel like I can do anything.

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CHAPTER 2

Our street is called Maltman Avenue, and it’s so steep it could be in San Francisco. The houses are painted colors like butter-yellow, sky-blue, and burnt orange, and there are always kids playing and barbecues going, international spices hovering in the air. Our house is a two-bedroom bungalow, which is another name for “very small house.” But we do have a garage, where Jeremy lived through most of high school, practicing his electric guitar and drinking too much Red Bull. Before that, we shared a room, which was beyond cramped. Being in junior high and sharing a room with my brother was pretty much a nightmare, but we somehow got through it. At the bottom of our street is the eastern part of Sunset Boulevard, not the famous part with the shiny billboards
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and tourist traps. There’s the 99-cent store, a Korean tailor, and a place called Mack Video (which Bell calls Crack Video because of the sketchy people who congregate in the parking lot next to it). I pass the trendy new Indian restaurant and several retro-themed cafes and vintage clothing stores that seem to have popped up in the last few months. I meet Lola at the coffee shop on Sunset and Fountain, and before I have a chance to sit down, she starts filling me in on her current crush, the Asian kid who works at the taco place. “Duality,” I say, kind of under my breath. “What are you on about, Livie?” Lola grew up in London but has lived here since she was twelve. I love having a British best friend. It makes me feel intercontinental even though I’ve never left California. “I’ve just been noticing duality in everything lately.” “Well,” she says, wiping her upper lip, “as you should.” Lola’s mother runs a yoga studio in Atwater Village, and her dad is a documentary producer for the BBC. She always has way more money than I do and pays for everything. It sometimes makes me uncomfortable, but she’s not the type to hold it against me. Apparently, her father still gets his salary in British pounds, which go way farther than the dollar. Especially when you’re buying fish tacos, which we do on a regular basis, not only because we like them, but because they are served by her crush, a guy named Jin.
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“So what is it about him, anyway?” I ask her. “He just seems like he could clean up well, you know? Put him in a dinner jacket, and he might just hit the mark.” “Lola, he’s like, fifteen.” “A girl can dream.” I smile, thinking of Jin serving tacos in a suit. “And I know it’s a bit of a stereotype,” Lola says, “but he seems very intelligent, you know? Like he’s solving math theorems on his breaks from . . . tortilla rolling or what have you.” “Kneading.” “Right. Well, what you ‘knead,’ darling, is a job.” So much for keeping my mind off my interview. “Yeah. I saw an ad for a babysitter—” “No offense, Livie, but you’re a bit on the mellow side for that, don’t you think?” “Well, it doesn’t matter anyway. When I called, they said they wanted someone who had experience with children. But actually, I have a lead on something way better. Papá set up an interview for me with a casting agent who needs an assistant.” “Now we’re getting warmer. You’re always on about nuance. You’ll need that for casting, don’t you reckon?” This is why I love Lola. She always seems to say the right thing. And even when she doesn’t, it still sounds great in her accent. I pull out the address Enrique gave me and look at my watch. “I’d better get going, the interview’s at eleven.”
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“Right. Why don’t you come by the studio after? I’ll be taking roll for all the pudgy ladies at Mum-yoga. We can go get tacos!” I try to leave some money for my chai, but Lola waves my hand away. “Okay, we can get tacos only if you let me buy them,” I say. “We’ll just see about that. Good luck, Livie!” She kisses me on each cheek as we get up to go, then leaves in a flourish, her scarf trailing behind her. Lola is glamorous, funny, and so naturally beautiful that some people find her intimidating. I’ve had a fair amount of friends growing up, but she’s the first person who really got me. When she transferred to my school two years ago, all the popular girls wanted to become her friend because she’s British. But she didn’t really care for them. It’s almost like she has this X-ray vision that can see through fakeness. We became lab partners in science, and when I named our frog Toast, she took a shine to me. I invited her over after school and taught her how to make oatmeal cookies from scratch. I added dried cranberries, which she thought was the coolest thing ever. Even though it’s only been two years, I can’t imagine my life without Lola in it. It’s like I used to live in black-and-white, and when Lola came along everything was suddenly in color.

*

*

*
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Walking up Sunset toward Vermont Avenue, I pass a random schizophrenic discreetly talking to himself, a Hispanic family, and a couple of twentysomething dudes with guitars on their backs. When I get to the building, I realize it’s the tallest one for miles. The lobby is shiny and stark, with hard sofas that look more like warped benches. I slip my sunglasses onto the top of my head and step into a huge elevator with white walls and a metal ceiling, and press 17. It stops at the twelfth floor, and a woman is revealed, as if the automatic doors were theater curtains dramatically drawn. She’s probably early forties, draped in loose-fitting, earth-toned clothes. She has a clear complexion and alert eyes. There’s a streak of gray in her otherwise black hair. She clutches a small leather bag. “Going down?” she asks. “No, up to seventeen.” She draws a circle in the air with her fi nger, as if calculating the journey, and says, “Oh well, I’ll take the scenic route.” The doors close with her inside, and I can immediately smell her. Cloves and lemon. As we ascend, I notice her perfect posture. She stands so straight you can almost imagine a wire pulled taut from the bottom of her spine to the crown of her head. Lola’s mother has it too. She does yoga every day and only eats blueberries for breakfast. I usually don’t talk to strangers, so I’m surprised to hear myself say, “Do you do yoga?”
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Before she can answer, the elevator stops abruptly. After a few seconds, we both realize we’re not on a floor. “I believe the word is practice, but yes,” she answers sweetly. I look around the elevator stupidly, like there’s a trapdoor or something. The woman is very calm, as if this sort of thing happens all the time. We decide to wait a minute or two before pressing the emergency call button. “Maybe it’ll just start up again,” I say, trying to be positive. The woman pulls out some grapes and offers me one. I take it to be polite, but then realize it has seeds—awkward. She notices my discomfort and says, “You can just crunch and swallow them, like a nut. They actually have more nutrients than the grape itself.” A grape doesn’t have a self, I think. But instead I say, “Good to know,” and stare at the red button. The woman steps closer and puts her clear eyes on me acutely, and suddenly I feel exposed. Since we’re trapped, I can’t really claim personal space. “I was only stuck in an elevator one other time,” she says, crunching on a grape seed, “and believe it or not, it was with the queen of England.” Yeah, right. “Really?” “Yes. I was hired by her estate manager to do some channeling work.” There are a lot of bohemian types in Silver Lake, and
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I’ve heard about channeling— basically when people summon spirits of others who then speak through them— but it still seems a little far-fetched to me. “You’re a . . . channeler?” She gives me a look so sharp I wouldn’t be surprised if darts start shooting out of her pupils. I move out of her way just in case. “I like to say visionary. I do psychic work, but I also do guided meditation and past-life integration. I get called to consult with, well, powerful people.” I think of Enrique and what he’s always saying about the class system. “So the fact that you’re a psychic for people with money makes it more credible?” I can’t believe I’ve said something so rude. I reach out to push the red button, but before I can, she grabs my wrist, not too tight, but enough to make me tremble a little. “Hang on a minute,” she says. I wonder if this is some sort of setup, if she knew we’d be here all along. I try to remain calm and wait. She looks at me like she’s examining a lab rat, and I can feel my forehead getting moist. Then she says something that makes everything else disappear. “I know what it’s like not having a mother.” I feel a dropping sensation in my stomach, and a tightening in my throat. “What?” I slowly back up until I reach the elevator wall and sit down. Even though I’m freaking out, I can almost hear
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Bell laughing. He’s never bought into the whole New Age thing. “How did you know that?” “It’s what I do,” she replies evenly. I decide to test her. “Okay, how come I don’t have a mother?” A look of pity colors her face, as if my test is too easy. “She gave you up for adoption.” I stare at her and realize my jaw is slack. “Um, this is getting a little creepy,” I say. “Can we press the button now?” She sits down directly across from me. I do my best to remain calm. “I’ll tell you what,” she says, arranging herself into a cross-legged position. “While we’re here, why don’t you let me read you?” “Look, I don’t believe—” She holds up her hands. “Take what you want from it. I usually get thousands of dollars for this, and I’m offering—” “No, it’s okay, really.” “No charge.” Her gaze softens a little, and I think she’s going to smile, but suddenly her expression goes blank. “You have an older brother. There’s fire in him.” I can feel my heart banging on the wall of my chest. I try to think of Bell, who would still be laughing at this point. Or would he?
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“He will soar.” I put my head in my hands and pretend this isn’t happening. But when I look up and see her pure, honest expression, something tells me to trust her. “Okay, just do it.” She studies my palms, writes down my birth date in a little notebook she has, tells me to stick out my tongue (I laugh a little during that part) and look her in the eye for as long as I can. I last several minutes, then lower my gaze to my sneakers. She takes my hand and holds it gently. “This summer.” “What?” “Last summer there were some changes for you?” I think of Jeremy moving out, and my breasts suddenly appearing. “Yes.” “This summer will be different— pivotal.” I try to smile at her to lighten things up, but nothing seems to crack her concentration. She becomes visibly emotional, like she’s holding back tears. “You must be aware of your choices. I know you’re young, but you’re an old soul. Please remember— all your choices are connected.” A single tear falls from her left eye and makes a tiny splat on the elevator floor. For some reason I think of William Hurt’s fake tear in Broadcast News. Bell’s always quoting the old movies we watch together, and he does a pretty good Holly Hunter. “Yours is a delicate spirit, but it will get stronger, and
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fast. I see your roots taking hold. You will have guidance from someone in the past. I also see a young man. And I’m not sure why, but food is important somehow.” She stares at me for what seems like an hour, then finally pushes the button and goes back into stranger mode. As we wait for the maintenance guy to radio in, she barely looks at me, until the elevator finally starts to move and we reach the casting agent’s floor. “Do you have a card?” I ask. She lets out a quick, hearty laugh and says, “If you need me, I will be there.” “Okay, well, thanks,” I say, but it comes out as more of a question.

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Text copyright © 2013 by Stewart Lewis Jacket photograph (girl) copyright © 2013 by Linda Brownlee All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc. Visit us on the Web! randomhouse.com/teens Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at RHTeachersLibrarians.com Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Lewis, Stewart. The secret ingredient / Stewart Lewis. — First edition. pages cm Summary: “After a chance meeting with a psychic, Olivia, a teen cook living in Los Angeles with her two dads and misfit brother, finds a vintage cookbook with handwritten notes inside and pieces together a story that turns a normal summer into a search for her birth mother”—Provided by publisher. ISBN 978-0-385-74331-0 (hc) — ISBN 978-0-449-81001-9 (ebook) [1. Self-realization—Fiction. 2. Mothers—Fiction. 3. Cooking—Fiction. 4. Los Angeles (Calif.)—Fiction.] I. Title. PZ7.L5881Se 2013 [Fic]—dc23 2012027203 The text of this book is set in 11-point Sabon. Book design by Trish Parcell Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 First Edition Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.

ATTENTION READER: THIS IS AN UNCORRECTED ADVANCE EXCERPT

Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone: Harry Potter Book 1 (106)

Title:Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone121121

Series:Harry Potter, Book 1

Author:J.K. Rowling

Edition:Paperback

Length:312

Published: October 1, 1999

Publisher:Scholastic Inc

Source:Library

Genre:Fantasy

Age Group:8 & up

Description of the Book:

Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He’s never worn a cloak of invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years.

But all that is about change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him…if Harry can survive the encounter.

Pre-Read:

Second time reading Harry Potter I stopped at book four in the fifth grade. So I cant wait to finally finish the series, There is no better place to start then the beginning.

While Reading:

Chapter One: Awe I forgot how sad the beginning was. I wish he could have stayed with Dumbledore or someone else more caring

Chapter Two: The snake & the disappearing glass that is one of my favorite parts as a kid

Chapter Three: I always loved how the letters made Vernon Dursley a bit crazy.

Chapter Four: I understand why Hagrid looks scary but when i think about him I think of a giant teddy bear. After all Bears have claws but are still cuddly. 🙂

Chapter Five:It’s sad that Harry spent his whole life feeling unloved and then boom Hagrid makes his birthday the best ever. 🙂 That’s one of the reasons I always thought Hagrid was so amazing.

Chapter Six: I love Ron and Harry’s friendship because they found common ground so easily. That’s how you know you have a great friend. Then Mrs. Weasley automatically going into mother mode over Harry. I ❤ the Weasley’s

Chapter Seven: This is the chapter that made me wish that I was a witch when I was a kid, It was the best thing imagining Harry waiting to be sorted

Chapter eight: I always think of Snape as misunderstood because if you think about it he was bullied. He just has a lot of resentment and deserved to be treated better.

Chapter Nine: I like this chapter for three reasons :

  1. Harry and Ron standing up to Malfoy for Neville with out as second thought
  2. It showed how pathetic Malfoy really is
  3. It was the beginning of Hermione and Neville’s friendship with Harry and Ron.

Chapter Ten: I always wondered how Snape knew where to go when the troll attacked. Also totally get why Harry, Hermione and Ron are in Gryffindor.

Chapter Eleven: Harry is awesome. That is all I have to say

Chapter Twelve: Poor harry going eleven years without a good Christmas. I think Mrs. Weasley is sweet. Then the mirror i loved that Harry was able to see his family even though he didn’t really get to know them. I can totally feel for Harry I lost my dad as a kid so i think i would hope to see him if i had a chance to look into that mirror

Chapter Thirteen: When I was younger I didn’t like Snape and I feel for him but im still not a fan. He is a jerk a majority of the time with a chip on his shoulder. The fact that Hagrid defended him says a lot about him because Hagrid is a straight shooter if he thinks your good people then more than likely you are.

Chapter Fourteen:I can’t believe Malfoy is being so stupid  seriously he really is just jealous of Harry but he has no real reason to be.

Chapter Fifteen: I want to know what the centaur meant by mars being bright. The thing that I thought was Mars is the war-god in Roman culture so  I wonder if that’s what they meant. Also, why did Firenze help Harry? The other centaur’s seemed annoyed by it so why did he do it?


Chapter Seventeen: I think Harry rocks as a hero. 🙂  Then Dumbledore thinking Harry more than capable of doing anything. I loved the ending can’t wait for book two!

Overall Thoughts: So I first read this book back when I was around eight years old close to being nine. I loved this book then as much as I do now. The story truly is magical. The way Harry goes from thinking he’s nothing special and realizes that he is something spectacular. He has good friends for the first time in  his life that are as close as family to him. He has people who are looking out for his best interest which in my opinion is something he has always needed. This book lets you see that no matter where you come from you are capable of great things. That is one of the reasons I loved this book as a kid and love it now as an adult. J.k. Rowling has an amazing imagination and has brought a wonderful world to life. It makes me fee like a kid again reading the series. I think this is a great series foe any one of any age. if you haven’t read it what are you waiting for. In my opinion it gets better every time.

Rating: 5/5

Happy Reading!

Jess