Thursday, 31 January 2019

Monthly Summary; January 2019

It's a saying that goes somewhere in the line of "new year, new possibilities". The first month of 2019 is pretty much over and I've read a few interesting books in addition to recieving a bunch of books as press copies. There is some perks of being a book blogger.

Here's the book haul list and the list of books I've read this month.

Books I've Read
  • Here Walk the Dead (Boneseeker #2) by Brynn Chapman
  • Klokkemakerens datter by Kate Morton
  • Alle spørsmåls mor by Rebecca Solnit
  • Bønn for Tsjernobyl by Svetlana Aleksijevitsj
  • Kjærlighetens magiske regler by Alice Hoffman
  • Jesperpus by Aina Stormo
  • Hvis jeg forsvinner, ser du meg da? by Kristine Getz
  • Randhav by Lina-Marie Ulvestad Halås
  • Jeg vet ikke helt hva det er by Silje Bergumm Kinsten
  • Raven Dock by Sara Caldwell
  • Mischling by Affinity Konar
  • Den lille bistroen i Bretagne by Nina George
Book Haul
  • Laughing All the Way to the Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz (purchased)
  • History of Witchcraft by Lois Martin (purchased)
  • A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin (through Blind Date With A Book Club)
  • Ruby Hope Valley by Diane Williams Gordon (press copy in pdf-format through Early Reviewers on LibraryThing)
  • My Heaven and Hell by Ruth Gordon (press copy in pdf-format through Early Reviewers on LibraryThing)
  • Thoron - Jenta fra den grønne øya by Gunhild Haugnes (press copy from the author in book format)
  • Venneforespørsel by Laura Marshall (press copy from the publisher in book format)
  • Du er død by Peter James (press copy from the publisher in book format)
  • Der lyset slipper inn by Lucy Dillon (press copy from the publisher in book format)
  • Tiden er en morder by Michel Bussi (press copy from the publisher in book format)
  • Jeg er nummer 13 by Øistein Borge (press copy from the publisher in pdf-format)
  • Når jeg drikker by Martin Svedman (press copy from the publisher in pdf-format)
  • Randhav by Line Marie Halås (press copy from the publisher in pdf-format)
  • Den lille bistroen i Bretagne by Nina George (press copy from the publisher in pdf-format)
  • En modig datter by Renita D'Silva (press copy from the publisher in pdf-format)
  • Minneteppet by Ann O'Loughlin (press copy from the publisher in pdf-format)
  • Inspirerende norske strikkemønstre by Wenche Roald and Annichen Sibbern Bøhn (press copy from the publisher in pdf-format)

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Top Five Wednesday; Underrated Crime and Thriller Novels

I came across the Top 5 Wednesday Group at Goodreads and I found today's theme to be a freebie. I ended up with five underrated crime and thriller novels with less than 2000 ratings on Goodreads.

Here's my picks;
Eyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamal

The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo

Whiteout by Laurel Heidtman

The Cryptic Lines by Richard Storry

Death by Diploma by Kelley Kaye

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Book Blitz; Three Burning Red Runaway Brides by Kevin James Breaux


Three Burning Red Runaway Brides
Kevin James Breaux
(The Water Kingdom, #3)
Publication date: January 14th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Sabrina London is back! The fate of the Elemental Kingdoms rests in the hands of its newest ruler: Sabrina London. When last seen, the fairy princess had made a deal with the King of Filth to save the lives of her friends. Now she is fighting to live the life she wants while trying to save the lives of millions. A monster, more dangerous than any other she has overcome threatens both the human and non-human world. How will she restore the balance? Despite the risks, Sabrina enlists the aid of one of her people’s biggest rivals. She has spun a complex web of lies and deception, now trying to gain her freedom, unaware that everyone she allies with has their own plans. THREE BURNING RED RUNAWAY BRIDES is the action-packed third and final book in The Water Kingdom Series, following TWO POLLUTED BLACK-HEART ROMANCES and ONE SMOKING HOT FAIRY TAIL.
EXCERPT:
Chapter 1 – Perfect Body Double
There was a time when Sabrina London lived for this—the loud, thumping music, the bright, pulsating lights, the scent of perfume mixed with sweat—but that was then, not now. Crazy, just how much could change in six months—seemingly everything.
This was her first time back in civilization. Fitting that it was the hottest spot in Los Angeles on one of, if not the biggest, nights to party: Club Afterlife on New Year’s Eve.
Every year, the club hosted one of their famous masquerade balls. This year’s theme was Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.”
Sabrina blended in, just another partygoer draped in a loose, crimson robe, with a stark white, full facemask on. The disguise allowed her to witness the events of the night anonymously.
She may have been there in secret, but she was not there alone.
Her partner had circumnavigated the long lines and gained entrance to the club with ease, then singled out her target and made her move. After months and months of development, the plan was finally in motion.
Sabrina watched from across the crowded club. Her double had done a good job, maybe even too good a job. Jackson had been easily seduced.
Her double had commandeered a VIP booth and then slyly fucked a man Sabrina had feelings for. Sabrina had not realized until then, when her nails cut into her sweaty palms, that she had made two tight fists—one for each of them.
Skipper sauntered back, although clearly uncertain on her heels and clumsy in her billowing, Victorian-style dress. Sabrina had nicknamed her body double Skipper for many reasons. One was to remind her of her place—Skipper was always Barbie’s lesser and Sabrina hoped the name reminded the girl of just that.
Just as Sabrina felt her blood heat, Jackson called out her name; the ruse had worked.
Sabrina waved to Skipper from where she hid around a tall marble pillar. When the girl got there, Sabrina could hear her panting—she was almost out of breath.
“I didn’t tell you to fuck him. Here. In front of everyone,” Sabrina snapped. “What the hell were you thinking?”
“You told me to seduce him,” Skipper said over the loud dance music. “I did, and it worked.” She smiled as she fixed her lace Venetian masquerade mask. “You heard him, right? He just shouted out your name.”
Sabrina settled herself quickly. She could see Jackson approaching through the dense crowd. “Fine. Time to take this to the next step. He needs to see you. All of you.”
Skipper nodded.
“He’s coming,” Sabrina’s guard interrupted.
“Already did,” Skipper said under her breath.
“Remember the plan. Get him to take you home,” Sabrina repeated for what felt like the thousandth time. “Do whatever it takes to convince him you are Sabrina London. He needs to…one hundred percent…believe the lie.”
“And if he doesn’t believe me?”
“You know that answer. Don’t make me say it again.”
Skipper nodded.
“Good. Go. Run out the door. He’ll follow you.”
“Will you be okay here?”
Sabrina made a sour face as she glanced about, like it all—the music, the lights, the crowds—disgusted her. “Me? I’m leaving.”
“Okay. Wish me luck.”
“Good luck, Skipper.”
With that, Sabrina’s double stepped into the crowd, caught Jackson’s attention and then dashed for the door. Sabrina stared longingly at her former lover as he passed her by, but he didn’t even glance her way. Even if he had, all he would have seen was another person dressed as Red Death.
“We should get you to the roof,” Sabrina’s guard urged. “Dunyasha will be waiting for us.”
Sabrina gazed at the ceiling, as if she could see the vampire through it. “She’s pacing. For someone with so much time at her disposal, she’s incredibly impatient.”
“My queen?” her guard prompted again.
“Yes, Voss, let’s go home. I’ve had enough of this place.”


Author Bio:
Kevin James Breaux has written nine books and devoted the past twelve years of his life to crafting short stories and novels. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association, Paranormal Romance Guild, and other groups.
Breaux is always enthusiastic about the challenge writing presents. He lives by the motto "Write Makes Might!"© and sees each new page as an opportunity to improve and advance.
Breaux was formerly represented by Marisa A. Corvisiero, the founder of the Corvisiero Literary Agency.

XBTBanner1

Top Ten Tuesday; The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

It's Tuesday again, which means it's time for another Top Ten Tuesday post, courtesy of That Artsy Reader Girl. The theme of the week was simple enough; the ten most recent additions to my to-read list.

Here's my picks;

Til siste slutt by Traudl Junge

Sovjetistan by Erika Fatland

Kvinner under krigen by Siri Walen-Simensen

Englebyen - historier fra Beslan by Erika Fatland

Kunsten å være kvinne by Caitlin Moran

Europas skam - rasister på frammarsj by Lisa Bjurwald

The Tale of Beatrix Potter by Margaret Lane

Der lyset slipper inn by Lucy Dillon

My Heaven and Hell by Ruth Gordon

Den lille bistroen i Bretagne by Nina George

Monday, 28 January 2019

Omtale; Kvinner i kamp 150 års kamp for frihet, likhet, søsterskap! av Marta Breen og Jenny Jordahl

Siden jeg tross alt er feminist og har lest blant annet F-ordet 155 grunner til å være feminist, sa det nesten seg selv at jeg kom til å plukke opp boka Kvinner i kamp 150 års kamp for frihet, likhet, søsterskap! av Marta Breen og Jenny Jordahl. I dag kommer omtalen av boka.

Beskrivelse fra forlaget
For 150 år siden levde kvinner og menn svært forskjellige liv. Kvinner fikk ikke stemme ved valg eller tjene egne penger. Det var først da kvinnene begynte å organisere seg at det skjedde endringer. I denne boka forteller forfatter Marta Breen og illustratør Jenny Jordahl om kvinnebevegelsens mange dramatiske kamper.

Mine tanker om boka
Kvinner i kamp gir en lettfattelig introduksjon til (over) 150 års kvinnekamp med hovedfokus på kvinner som eksemplifiserer kampen og ulike tema, enten det er retten til å stemme eller ta utdanning. Boka passer i tillegg for et stort alderspekter, enten en er tenåring eller voksen.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Book Tour & Giveaway; Natalsa of the Brim by Chad McClendon


Natalsa of the Brim
Order of Terima Chronicles Volume 1
by Chad McClendon
Genre: Fantasy

In a world where witches have been revered, a cataclysmic evening changes everything.


Natalsa, the last witch, must find out what has robbed her of her power. But more than this, she must protect the world from the new order that has arisen, and cure a sweeping disease that threatens her new home.

There is evil to be undone, and Natalsa may have to sacrifice it all, in order to save those she loves.





Chad McClendon is a 32 year old author who studied English & Creative Writing at Northern Kentucky University. Chad has been published most recently through Crossed Heart, as well as in several online publications. He has won various awards for Fiction Writing. His short story, "Uploaded Vengeance" is now available in "One Night In Salem" by FunDead Publications.


Chad attended high school in Alexandria, Kentucky at Bishop Brossart High School. He was a founding member of Monday's Child, a volunteer group that worked around the Tri-State to better the lives of others. He was active in French Language competitions, and a general troublemaker otherwise.

He and his wife, Briana, have two daughters and one boy . In his free time Chad enjoys camping at Red River Gorge, playing video games and also swimming. Authors who have inspired him include Stephen King, John Steinbeck, William Golding, J.K. Rowling, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, and others.






Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!






Saturday, 26 January 2019

Book Tag Saturday; This or That?

I came across the This or That? book tag over at Book Bastion and decided to play along as it looked a bit cool.
The questions and my answers are;

Reading on the Bed or the Couch?
I prefer reading on the couch, as it's so much easier to get it "right" with snacks, a hot drink, a blanket and my cat.

Male Main Character or Female Main Character?
Even though I like both, I'll probably say female main characters, as I have a weak spot for strong women like Xena the Warrior Princess.

Sweet Snacks or Salty Snacks while reading?
I do have a sweet tooth, so for me it's obviously something sweet.

Trilogies or Quartets?
I prefer trilogies as they are not too long and not too short.

Reading First Person or Third Person POV?
It all depends on the genre and the book itself.

Reading at Night, or in the Morning?
I prefer reading at night, as I find it easier to calm down after a long day with a book.

Libraries or Bookstores?
I seriously can't choose between libraries and bookstores. I've spent a bunch of time in libraries growing up (and still do), but there's something really nice walking into an indie bookstore or for that matter, a second hand bookstore. It doesn't really help that I've worked both at a library and a couple of bookshops.

Books that make you laugh or cry?
I would probably say books that make me laugh.

Black book covers or white covers?
That one is easy to answer - black book covers.

Character driven or Plot driven?
That would be character driven - it doesn't help how good the plot is, but if the characters are poorly written, the overall impression is bad. On the flip side, well written characters can save a poorly written plot.

I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you want to answer the tag, feel free to do so.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Cover Reveal; Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton

Book Blitz; Give Me Fever by Jasmine & Arielle Lockhart



I am so excited that GIVE ME FEVER by Jasmine & Arielle Lockhart is available now and that I get to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Authors Jasmine & Arielle Lockhart, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $500 Amazon GC prize and an ARC of GIVE ME FEVER, courtesy of Jasmine & Arielle. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.



Title: GIVE ME FEVER 
Author: Jasmine & Arielle Lockhart
Pub. Date: January 15, 2019
Publisher: Somewhere On A Beach Publishing
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 278
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&N

Hotter than a fever…
Jackson Noveau left behind his Cajun roots to make a better life for him and his new bride in New York City. But his drive for success drove the love of his life away. Six years later, Jackson has the opportunity to take his hot sauce company global. All he has to do is buy back the family farm. Unfortunately, the new owner isn’t impressed by his handsome offer.



From first love to fiery business rival…
Jessa fled home to the little bayou town of Fever, Louisiana six years ago, expecting Jackson to chase after her. He never did. Now he’s back and she has something he wants—the farm she secretly bought. She has no intentions of letting go of the home she loves, or the one-of-a-kind peppers necessary for the production of Jackson’s hot sauce. At least not until she learns Jackson holds the key to something she wants—the divorce she believed they finalized years ago.


What’s yours is mine…
The two strike a deal where winner takes all. If Jessa can go a week without succumbing to the spark clearly still between them, Jackson will sign the divorce papers. If not, Jackson gets the farm. As the ex-flames spend the week together, things smolder hotter than a fever, but with only one winner, someone is sure to get burnt.

Excerpt:
The primal part of him argued that things weren’t complicated. That Jessa was still his. And that realization struck deep. “If you want my touch so badly, I’d be happy to grant your wish. I’m thinking a nice start would be my tongue between your—”

Her reflexes were no joke. Before he could finish his sentence, Jackson found himself covered in wine. Again.

He grabbed his napkin and did his best to blot up the red liquid coursing down his face. “If you actually finished a glass of that stuff without throwing it on me, you might enjoy my company a little more.”

“Even piss-ass drunk, I wouldn’t let you do what you were about to suggest.” She sounded truly appalled by his comment. Like he hadn’t done that on this very table once upon a time. “Don’t act like you don’t still want me, Jessalynn.”

“Ha! You are so full of yourself. No, I don’t still want you, Jackson. As you can see, I want nothing more than you to be out of my house and out of my life.”

His jaw twitched. “Feelings aren’t a light switch, Jessalynn. You can’t just turn them off. Did you forget how you used to respond to my touch? To me? How I could light you on fire? Should I remind you?”

“The only feeling I have for you now is disgust.”

“Did you also forget how well I know you? I can tell when you’re lying.”

She put her hands on her hips and stuck her chest out. “I’m not lying, Jackson.”

“Prove it.”

“I don’t have to prove anything to you. There’s nothing in it for me.”

An idea hit him. “What if there was?”

Jessa looked at him sideways. “What?”

“Since you’re so sure that you don’t have feelings for me anymore, then prove it. If you can resist me for a week, I will sign the divorce papers, leave you the farm, and be out of your life.” A week was pushing his deadline, but he’d make it work.

“You think I can’t go a week without tearing off my clothes and throwing myself at you?” She laughed so hard she began holding her stomach and wiping her eyes.

“If you think it’s that easy, you’ve got nothing to lose.”

Her face sobered. “I’m not crazy enough to sign on for spending a week with you.”

“I’m not going anywhere, chéri. This way, no matter what, I’ll be gone in a week. Otherwise, I’ll leave when I’m good and ready.”

Jessalynn grumbled and her eyes narrowed. “So, if I can make it a week without sleeping with you, you’ll sign the papers and give up on this nonsense about buying the farm?”

He nodded, trying not to smile too wide.

“There must be rules.” She twirled the stem of her empty wine glass between her fingers. “No getting me drunk. I have to be sober for it to count.”

“That’s fair. I don’t need you impaired to get you turned on.”

She rolled her eyes. “And you can’t go around shirtless. Fully clothed, all week.”

“No dice. I’ll keep my pants on, since you don’t trust yourself not to jump my bones if I don’t, but it’s damn near 100 degrees in the daytime around here. You’re not going to force me to wear a shirt the whole time.”

“Fine.”

“I have some conditions of my own.”

“Like what?”

“You agree to let me stay here. All week. I don’t expect

you to let me sleep in your bed, but for me to have a fighting chance, proximity is a must.”

“No.”

He threw his head back and wiped his hand down his face. “Come on, Jessalynn. Bend a little.”

With any luck at all, he’d have her bending all kinds of ways before week’s end.

“Whatever. You stay out of my bedroom, though.”

“Alright, but you have to promise not to avoid me during the daytime.”

“I have work to do, Jackson. This farm doesn’t run itself.”

“I think I know a thing or two about farm work. I’ll pitch in.”

Jessalynn grabbed the wine and drank from the bottle. Then she took a long breath. “Anything else?”

“No getting off without me.”

“Excuse me?”

“I don’t want you taking the edge off. You’re going to be

begging me to put my mouth and hands on you in no time. Can’t let you cheat by getting off on your own.”

She pushed her chair back and stood. “It’s only a week. I’m not a guy. I’ll survive. Especially if it means getting rid of you once and for all.”

After making her way around the table, she stuck her hand out. “We have a deal.”

He stared at her hand for a beat, then glanced up at her. “Don’t you want to know what happens if you lose?”

“I’m not going to lose.”


About Jasmine and Arielle:
Jasmine and Arielle Lockhart were born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, in a house overflowing with books, art, and poetry scrawled on scraps of paper by the hands of their father and mother. The sisters spent their childhood summers setting crawdad traps and picking peaches from the three-hundred-year-old tree on their family's plantation. On stormy nights when the power would go out in the Antebellum home, Arielle would distract her younger sister by telling her stories. It never took long before Jasmine's fear of the dark was forgotten and she was butting in with her own ideas of how the story should go.
In 2017, over mint julep's on the plantation's ivy-laden porch, Jasmine and Arielle came up with the crazy idea to co-write a romance novel. A year and many heated debates later, the first book in the Fever series was complete.

 When she's not nagging her sister to add more kissing scenes to their books, Jasmine is a world-traveler, living between New Orleans and Abu Dhabi in the Middle East.

Arielle currently resides on the plantation, where she spends her days writing and convincing Grammy Dee that Annabelle, the housekeeper she hired three years ago, is not the reincarnation of the young woman who hung herself in the peach tree after her fiancé failed to return from war. 

Sign up for their mailing list for news!



Giveaway Details:

$500 Amazon GC prize and ARC of “Give Me Fever”




https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/df5a8d961/

Book Blogger Hop; How Many Books I Read Last Year

It's Friday and time for another Book Blogger Hop post, courtesy of Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The question of the week was "How many books did you read last year? Will your goal be to match that number or surpass it?".

Last year, I read 170 books and so far this year, my goal is to read roughly 120. Though, I will not complain if I surpass it of course.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Book Tour & Giveaway; Diary of a Sorceress by Ashley Dioses


Diary of a Sorceress
by Ashley Dioses
Genre: Dark Poetry

The young poet Ashley Dioses has already established herself as a leading voice in contemporary weird poetry. Known for her meticulous use of rhyme and meter, her deft melding of the strange and the erotic, and her novel treatments of such age-old themes as the vampire, the witch, and the ghoul, Dioses now gathers the best of her recent poetry into her first collection—a scintillating assemblage of nearly 100 poems short and long, published and unpublished.

With this single volume, Ashley Dioses takes her place as a worthy successor to the long line of California Romantics, beginning with Ambrose Bierce, Clark Ashton Smith, and Nora May French, and carrying on with Donald Sidney-Fryer and K. A. Opperman (The Crimson Tome), with whom she has worked closely.




Ashley began writing at the age of 12. Upon discovering the macabre work of Edgar Allan Poe, she took a borderline obsessive interest in writing horror and dark fantasy poetry and even a few fantasy novels. Her favorite authors of horror and fantasy at that time were Stephen King, Dean Koontz, J.R.R. Tolkien, Piers Anthony, and Brian Jacques who also influenced her work.


She wrote up until her senior year of high school and then took a break before starting up again after college in 2011. With a nudge from a new friend, she discovered a new kind of horror, dark fantasy, and weird work from authors such as Clark Ashton Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, George Sterling, Donald Sidney-Fryer, and David Park Barnitz.

With this new treasure trove of horror and weird authors, she began to broaden her writing.

Aside from writing, her other passion is martial arts. When she was 12 she started practicing a shotokan Japanese karate mix (called 'American' karate) and Judo at Red Dragon until she reached 3rd class brown belt at 15. At 18 she started practicing Soo Bahk Do, a Korean karate, where she stayed for four years, getting her black belt and taught as an instructor for a brief period of time before leaving.





Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!






Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Book Blitz; Plagued Primortus by J. L. Bond and Val Richards

Top Five Wednesday; Top Of My TBR

As I've discovered the January prompts for Top Five Wednesday over at Goodreads group, I decided to participate in today's prompt, which was top of my TBR.

My picks are;
Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers by Xiaolu Guo

Nevermoor - The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Mischling by Affinity Konar

Engaged by Dani Hoots

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Book Blitz; Stolen by Marlena Frank



I am so excited that STOLEN by Marlena Frank is available now and that I get to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Marlena Frank, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International, courtesy of The Parliament House and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


Title: STOLEN (Stolen #1)
Author: Marlena Frank
Pub. Date: January 22, 2019
Publisher: The Parliament House
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 342
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksKobo

It’s difficult taking care of a delusional father by yourself. Sixteen-year-old Shaleigh Mallet would rather explore and photograph dilapidated buildings than cater to her father’s dark episodes. But when she’s kidnapped by a creature who carries her atop a flying bicycle into another world, she realizes this wasn’t the escape she wanted.

In a kingdom known as the Garden, where minotaurs pull carriages and parties are held in hot air balloons, Madam Cloom and her faerie servant, Teagan, rule over the land with incredible but terrifying magic. Shaleigh must prove that she is the reincarnation of a long-dead ruler, not because she believes it, but because it’s her only chance to survive. With the help of a trespassing faerie, a stoatling, and a living statue, Shaleigh hopes to outwit everyone. She aims to break the bonds of servitude and finally make her way home. What she doesn’t realize, however, is that she’s playing right into the hands of a far worse enemy...

Book Trailer:


Excerpt:
PART I
FREEFALL


AN EMBARRASSMENT

Shaleigh didn’t think about how much concrete and steel stood over her head as she stepped carefully down the decaying hallway of Ferris Factory. The building had been abandoned for so long that the mildew and fungus ran rampant from the moisture that crept down the crumbling walls, so a respirator was a requirement. Ferris Factory was only two stories tall from the outside, but the floors underground felt endless. The elevator shaft only went down three floors when it had been operational; the rest of the floors could only be reached with the stairs. She doubted any of it had been inspected by the fire marshal.

Her best friend, Kaeja, walked so close behind that she could feel her warm breath on the back of her neck. The only sound that echoed up and down the hallway, besides their footsteps, was the snap of Shaleigh’s camera. The photos were why they risked their lives to explore dangerous places: to document the decrepit. It was thrilling to explore a place that nobody else would see. Eventually all the walls would fall, and Ferris Factory would decay into memory. Shaleigh and Kaeja would have the only remaining proof it even existed, especially since it was clear that nobody was supposed to know about this section of the factory.

A rat skittered out of a heap of moldy paperwork and Kaeja took a deep breath until it passed. “This is the worst one yet. By far.” Shaleigh grinned, though her respirator concealed it. “Come on, we had to come back and take the stairs down. We couldn’t just end it at the base of the elevator.”

“Do you see that?” She swung the flashlight to the side. “I couldn’t even hang a picture on that wall. Four floors down was enough, five floors is just begging to get hurt.”

Kaeja was right, the walls of the hallway curved inward like a bow string. Shaleigh hadn’t noticed how bad it was until she mentioned it. “We’ll be quick.”

She snapped as many photos as she could while Kaeja held the flashlight. It illuminated a good portion of the hall, but the beam had little effect against the thick, sick air. The light ought to have made the place more inviting, but it only made the shadows darker. It was hard for Shaleigh to keep her hands steady for the photos; fear and exhilaration kept combating within her. Sure, this place was terrifying and could collapse at any moment, but the thought of capturing a world that would never been seen again, of documenting the forgotten before it disappeared, made her tap the shutter button of her camera faster. "I wish we had more time. I'd love to look inside some of these rooms."

"Not me," Kaeja said, her eyes shadowed by the reflections of the flashlight on her mask. "These halls are creepy enough, thanks." The light flashed across some metal scraps against the bowed wooden wall. It was hard to tell if it had been left behind by the workers, or if it had fallen from the ceiling. "Didn't they used to make cars here?"

"Sure, that's it." Shaleigh snorted as she tapped on a dirt-encrusted sign that warned visitors that the hallway was a high security corridor. "Whatever helps you sleep at night."

"It's an old building, but that doesn't mean they were hiding anything down here."

"Then what's with the high security? They had to be doing something illegal down here. The maps we found don't even show these floors. I heard it used to be a hospital,”
Shaleigh glanced back to her with a smile. “Dad heard it from a colleague at work. They used to keep dangerous people here.” Kaeja stared at her, the beam from the flashlight in her hands trembling.

A high-pitched squeal of metal echoed down through the insides of the building, as though the entire structure was shifting under its own weight. The squeal turned into a groan that shook the very floor beneath their feet. Both teens froze, barely daring to breathe as debris fell from the ceiling. Seven levels of exhausted steel, wood, and plaster shifted over their heads. They stood in silence waiting for the walls to give way, waiting to be buried beneath the rusty metal beams, discolored linoleum floors, and rat-infested insulation; but the building remained steady.

The noise stopped. Particles drifted in the air.

"It doesn't sound very good, does it?" Shaleigh whispered.

"I don't like it. I don't care what you say, this is the lowest I'm going. Five levels below ground is far enough."

Shaleigh stifled a laugh, "That's what you said when we found the stairs."

A high-pitched noise erupted down the hall causing both teens to jump. It didn't sound metallic...it didn't sound like the building at all.

Kaeja stared down the hallway with wide eyes. The noise broke into a whimper, and then there was silence. It only lasted maybe a few seconds, but they both knew what they had heard. Someone was down there with them.

Shaleigh turned to look behind them, but without the flashlight beam it was too dark to see anything. "Was that—was that behind us?”

Kaeja spun around, temporarily blinding Shaleigh in the process. "I don't know. I thought it came from in front of us."

The darkness felt like a cage all around them. The beam of the flashlight, darting forwards and backwards down the hall, seemed so small and insignificant now. Someone was in the darkness. Someone was watching them. Shaleigh stepped around Kaeja and started back toward the stairwell. "We should go."

Kaeja grabbed her arm and Shaleigh could feel her clammy fingers through the sleeve of her jacket. "Are you crazy? You said that's where it came from."

"How else are we going to get out of here?"

Kaeja could give no argument and shook her head. "Shaleigh..." she whimpered.

"It's okay, we'll do it together." She put her camera around her neck and took Kaeja's hand. They walked slowly towards the door of the stairwell, side by side, fingers clasped in a death grip.

For a moment, Shaleigh thought she saw movement ahead of them and stopped. Kaeja must have seen it too because she swept her flashlight left and right, searching for whatever it was. Just before the beam of light reached one of the doors, Shaleigh was certain she spotted a shadow move into one of the rooms.

"Ow..." Kaeja whispered giving their joined hands a tug. Shaleigh realized she had been gripping too hard and loosened her hold but didn't say a word. Her eyes were fixed on where the shadow had been. As they drew closer, an arm stretched out, hairy with long, black fingernails, and pulled the door closed. There was a splash as though something heavy had fallen into a pool of water from behind the door.

Kaeja screamed. A bolt of adrenaline hit Shaleigh and she grabbed Kaeja's arm. Together they ran. As they passed the door, the knob began to turn with a creak. She wasn't sure if Kaeja had seen it or not. "Keep going!" she yelled, all pretense of caution forgotten.

Once the stairwell came into view, they sped up. Shaleigh slipped on a wet spot and her foot skidded. She would have sprained her ankle if she hadn’t grabbed for the wall. What a stupid way to die, she thought as she regained her footing. She had to keep her head straight, because panicking in an old, decrepit building was a sure way to get hurt or killed by whatever was after them. She forced them to slow down to climb over a pile of broken boards and nails. Shaleigh had thought it odd to have it so close to the stairwell when they’d first come down, but now she saw it as a marker, a warning perhaps, to keep trespassers out. As she helped Kaeja down the opposite side of the rubble, she heard limping footsteps approaching them.

"It's coming!" Shaleigh cried and together they sprinted for the stairwell. The flashlight bounced beams off the walls.

They hit the metal door like a battering ram, shoving it into the rusted railings of the stairs, causing it to reverberate like a gong up and down the concrete shaft. Shaleigh gripped the metal rail, feeling the flecks of paint come off on her hands, and the raw rust beneath. She exchanged a glance with Kaeja, both trying to catch their breath. The respirator was humid with her breathing and she couldn’t wait to rip it off when they got outside. She looked up the dark stairwell above them and grimaced. There were too many floors between them and safety.

Kaeja gasped and reached out to grab Shaleigh’s arm. Shaleigh stared at her. She thought she could make out footsteps from the hall they just left, but it was so faint it was hard to make out. It could have just been the sounds of the building, but she didn’t want to take any chances. Taking a deep breath, Shaleigh led the way as they started up the stairs.

One floor, two floors, three floors.

Was that the sound of the doorknob beneath them being turned? Kaeja hurried to her side as they continued to climb. Both were audibly gasping now. It wouldn’t take much for their pursuer to know where they went. Shaleigh’s thighs were burning. She could sprint up a flight or two of stairs, but this was tough. It didn’t help that she was already out of breath before they even started climbing.

"What if it's locked us in?" Kaeja asked between sucking in gulps of air.

Shaleigh didn't respond. She didn't want to even consider that option.

They climbed two more flights of stairs. Kaeja reached the door first. They both let out a sigh of relief when the door opened. Panting, they jogged to the main exit, a pair of massive iron doors that looked like they belonged in a mausoleum. Neither of them said a word as they descended the short flight of broken steps to the grass. Shaleigh ripped off her respirator, Kaeja did the same, and they both exchanged grins as they crossed the grass-pocked concrete walkway. It felt good to feel the heat of the day on her skin too. The sun was sinking in the west, but the air was sweet with wild honeysuckle and a light breeze rustled the old oaks. Shaleigh relaxed a bit but could tell by Kaeja's expression that she wouldn’t be able to relax until they had left the property completely.

The concrete walkway fell away to tall grass that came up to their hips, as they sidestepped small pine trees that were beginning to take over the lot and moved further away from the building. The chain link fence that surrounded the property sported multiple warning signs for trespassers, though they were faded from exposure. Kaeja pulled back the corner of fencing they had used to get in, and they both climbed through without saying a word. Kaeja paused, took a deep breath, and relaxed her shoulders.

"I know you'll hate to hear this, Kaeja," Shaleigh started. "But I think I'm done with Ferris Factory for a while."

Kaeja laughed. "No complaints here. I’m going to add that we never go underground again either. I am not running up that many stairs again, no matter how great you say the pictures will be." Shaleigh couldn’t help but laugh. The downtrodden path through the woods made it a short walk to reach the bus stop. Shaleigh unwrapped the scarf from around her head and shook out her twists. The breeze felt wonderful on her scalp. They dropped everything into Shaleigh's backpack as they walked. The main road was surprisingly empty for a Sunday afternoon. After exploring inside of decomposing buildings for a while, she had new respect for even the simplest things. The bench for the bus stop, covered in graffiti and bearing a single broken board, looked like a luxury.
Kaeja sprawled across the broken wooden bench and covered her eyes with her arms.

"Wow, what a rush!"

"I know!" Despite her smile, Shaleigh still glanced over her shoulder, as though expecting the person from the building to be slinking toward them through the woods.
"What do you think it was?"

Kaeja stared up into the sky. "Someone crazy, I'm sure. It's a good thing they made some noise. I don't like the thought of them sneaking up on us like that." She sat up and patted the bench beside her.

Shaleigh obliged, her legs were still shaky. "Did you see that hand?"

Kaeja shuddered, "Looked like he hadn't seen the light of day in forever." She stretched her arms over the back of the bench. "This is exactly why I don't like the big ones. There are too many hiding places."

"The small ones aren't much better," Shaleigh added. "Sometimes it feels like a shot right out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you know?"

Kaeja nodded and the two grew silent from their own nerves. Kaeja’s leg jumped up and down, as though at any moment she would jump up into a sprint. Shaleigh kept resisting the urge to look over her shoulder once more. The bus couldn't come fast enough.

"Ugh, I need to think about something else." Kaeja said with a tense smile. "You've got a party coming up tonight, don't you? You get to get all dolled up. I know you don't like the people much, but I do envy you getting to go."

Shaleigh sighed. "I had almost forgotten about it.” She checked her watch. It was a good thing they had left when they did because she still needed to get home and clean up. “If you like it so much, you can totally go for me."

"Your dad would never let me. He needs you there."

"Unfortunately."

Kaeja scooted closer and put an arm around her shoulders. "I'm sorry. I guess that is pretty hard on you. Do they ask you a lot of questions about him?”

Shaleigh nodded. She hated the tight feeling she got in her chest whenever she thought of those stupid parties. She hated the fact that she had to go. Why in the world did Roseworth College have so many of them anyway? It was like they wanted to torture her.

Deciding to change the subject, she picked up her camera from around her neck. After checking to make sure nothing had been damaged in their mad dash, she asked, "Want to see the pictures?"

Kaeja nodded but looked concerned. Shaleigh ignored it.

The brilliant light of the flash somehow made the dark halls of Ferris Factory less frightening, less dangerous. If only people were so easy to strip of fear.



About Marlena:

I write about strange creatures. Typically they shouldn’t exist, or they have bled through from a different reality, or they’re pretending to be a crying baby in a crib. Sometimes that lands my stories in horror and other times in fantasy, but there’s always an air of strangeness to my tales. If you want to get a better feel for what I’m talking about, check out a few clips or read a few drabbles.

My work has appeared in a spattering of short story collections, but I do have a few novellas and novels in the pipeline. Other than talking about writing, I also talk about cryptozoologywerewolveswildlife conservation, and of course kitties. I’ve also been known to nerd out about Batman and The Hobbit, and have recently discovered the cracktastic fun of Black Butler cosplay, so there will likely be more of these incidents.

By day I work as a web developer, so I’ll occasionally talk about web issues like finding the right theme.

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, INTERNATIONAL.