My Catchphrases

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Trailer Tuesday: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini


Title: Starcrossed
Series: Starcrossed
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: 3 Jun 2011

Synopsis: From Amazon
When shy, awkward Helen Hamilton sees Lucas Delos for the first time she thinks two things: the first, that he is the most ridiculously beautiful boy she has seen in her life; the second,
that she wants to kill him with her bare hands.

With an ancient curse making them loathe one another, Lucas and Helen have to keep their distance. But sometimes love is stronger than hate, and not even the gods themselves can prevent what will happen . . .

Monday, 30 May 2011

Random - Being Unable to Comment Makes Me Sad

Just a little post to let everyone know how awful it is not to be able to comment on other people wonderful blogs.

I have be trying desperately to comment all last week – amazing reviews and posts popping up – but Blogger/Google keeps re-directing me back to the login page whenever I try to comment.

It gets really frustrating when you put in a long comment for someone only to have it disappear after the third attempt to log-in.

The weird thing is that I can have my blogger dashboard open on another tab but it still keeps re-directing me to the sign in screen.

I am aware that I am not the only person to experience this problem but I just wanted to let you all know that I am trying to comment. I really really want to comment but it just isn’t happening and this makes me sad.

I cannot even find a way to report the problem to Blogger. What is up with that.

If anyone knows what is going on or has an idea when it is likely to be fully resolved please could you let me know.

Thank you and hope to be commenting really soon.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

In My Mailbox #17-11

In  My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in order to showcase the wonderful books bought/gifted/loaned/review need I go on. Books make everything better [ : D ]
This weeks IMM is with special thanks to Luisa Plaja who sent the wonderful books below for the school library. You cannot imagine how grateful myself and the pupils are to receive such wonderful books. Thank you.

(I am sure this one will go well with the girls)

(Fantastic book - review here)

(I have been desperate to read this myself *hides it under desk*)

(This is great for a little project I have planned in school for November [ : D ])
(another on that can be used for the WWII project - yay)

(always a popular choice with the boys)

I am always grateful for all the wonderful books generously donated to the library; it makes a huge difference.


Hopefully blogger will have fixed the problems with the commenting today so I can actually comment without being diverted to the sign in screen constantly *crosses fingers*
Have a great week.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Saturday Spotlight: Guest Post: Linda Newbery: Libraries are a Gift


It is my pleasure to welcome Linda Newbery to Book Angel's Booktopia this week to talk about the influence Libraries have had throughout her life. Over to Linda:

I loved libraries as a child (and, of course, still do). The branch library in an Epping side-street, long-gone and replaced by a bigger one, is clear in my memory; I remember the hurry to get there after school, the exhilaration of finding a book I specially wanted, and the crushing disappointment if I couldn’t find it.

In those days, most library novels were jacketless and with plain or textile-patterned covers that belied the excitement of what lay within their pages. I remember hoarding one particular book, renewing it over and over again because I couldn’t bear to part with it. The library was more than a mile from home, and I used to walk along the High Street reading my latest find, occasionally falling off pavements or bumping into lamp-posts.

An author I particularly loved as a child was Monica Edwards. Her books can hardly be found nowadays, except as collectors’ items and a few titles that have been reprinted, but I often come across people of around my age who remember her with great fondness. She published more than forty books; with the help of librarians and request cards, I worked my way through the lot, reading all of them more than once. Monica Edwards was one of the authors who gave me my ambition of being a writer, and the books she wrote – the Romney Marsh series, and the Punchbowl Farm stories – were a big influence on the kind of writer I wanted to be. Most of her plots seem far-fetched now, but the characters and settings will stay with me for ever. Monica Edwards was brilliant at depicting the natural world - weather, atmosphere, seasons, animals and birds. She was also a pioneer environmentalist, writing about subjects like factory farming, oil spillages and the plight of wild animals long before they featured in public consciousness. Many of my own books – The Shell House, Set in Stone, and my latest title Lob, for younger readers – depend strongly on a sense of place. More often than not, it’s setting and atmosphere that give me the starting-point for a new book. A large part of that stems from my childhood experience of not just reading Monica Edwards’ books, but feeling that I lived in them.

I owe so much to libraries. From an early age I learned the pleasures of browsing and choosing, the joy of a chance find, the discovery of a new author I loved. It would be tragic if today’s children – and today’s future writers – had these gifts taken away from them.

We should be immensely proud of our free public libraries. Let’s keep them.
Linda Newbery, April 2011

He’s older than anyone can tell. Older than the trees. Older than anybody.
For as long as she can remember, Lucy has wanted to catch a glimpse of the mysterious green man who lives in Grandpa Will’s garden: Lob.
You have to be very special to see him; that’s what Grandpa says. Lucy’s parents think Lob’s just imaginary, but Lucy knows he exists. And she can’t believe it when she finally spots Lob in the gooseberry bushes.
But Lucy’s world is about to be shattered by a terrible event. What will happen to Lob now – and will she ever see him again?

Paperback on sale 2nd June.

On My (Library) Wish-List

I was introduced to this meme via my lovely blogging friend Vivienne at Serendipity, hosted weekly by the gorgeous Book Chick City. Although this meme to showcase books on the ever increasing wish-list I have decided to do mine a little differently.

A few people will tell you I am a glutinous pig where books are concerned (some will probably say worse)and I freely admit to coveting pretty, shiny glorious books. However, I do not want to be greedy and have decided to showcase books that are on the library wish-list. Times are tough for everyone at present and people’s generosity overwhelms me. I received a beautiful parcel of books from Luisa Plaja for the library this week. You will get to see the pretties tomorrow in IMM [ : D ]

Another incident occurred this week that re-affirmed my belief in human nature; I was messaging a fellow reviewer on a (guess what) review site who supplied me with amazing information regarding manga for the library and allowing to add the reviews to the library system in order to entice the pupils. I am trying to expand our very poor collection of manga in the school library and stated that the budget had been drastically slashed this year. The wonderful person @shroudeddancer (also reviews erotica so be warned) then directed followers to me and told them of the library plight one very generous person @zeffkingston offered to send money in order to purchase some manga. I am not comfortable accepting money but was very touched by the offer.

So moving on from my rambling, this week’s library wish-list:  

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Publication Date: 22 July 2010

Synopsis: From Amazon

They say 'live every day as if it's your last' - but you never actually think it's going to be. At least I didn't.
The thing is, you don't get to know when it happens. You don't remember to tell your family that you love them or - in my case - remember to say goodbye to them at all.
But what if, like me, you could live your last day over and over again? Could you make it perfect? If your whole life flashed before your eyes, would you have no regrets? Or are there some things you'd want to change...?

Review here

Unfortunately I gave my copy to another person before I got my job in the school otherwise I would have brought my copy in. Such a brilliant book.

Title: Vision of Escaflowne Vol 1
Series: Vision of Escaflowne
Publisher: Tokyopop
Publication Date: 15 May 2004

Synopsis: From Amazon

Hitomi Hoshino, a 16-year-old high school student with an interest in mysticism, experiences strange dreams at night. A mysterious temple, a tremendous jewel, a shadowy prince...The images trouble her, and a strange incantation keeps echoing in her mind. During a simple fortune telling one day Hitomi feels a magical pull, and in a shocking moment, the dream incantation drags her from her body. She wakes up in a strange world where the Earth hangs in the sky, and a headstrong prince asks her to power his god. Where is she? Why has she been transported? And, will she really be able to wake the deity Escaflowne?

To be perfectly honest I would love the entire series but this is a start.

So that is it for the first in (hopefully) weekly wish-list post for the library.

Saturday Spotlight: Caroline Lawrence: Western Mysteries Blog Tour Dates


This page might take a little while to load due to the large amount of data but believe me it will be worth the wait [ : D ]

Title: The Case of the Deadly Desperados
Series: The Western Mysteries
Author: Caroline Lawrence
Publisher: Orion Children’s
Publication Date: 2 Jun 2011

Synopsis: From Amazon

When desperados kill a preacher and his wife in a small frontier town, their foster child P.K. is forced to go on the run. P.K. must get a valuable letter to the Recorder’s Office before anyone else can get their hands on it. It’s not easy: Virginia City in 1862 is a glorified mining camp on a barren mountain above a great vein of silver. Seething with miners below ground and hustlers above, it’s a dangerous place, full of gamblers, hurdy girls, saloon-keepers and gunmen, all of them on the make. When twelve year-old P.K. Pinkerton arrives there, homeless, penniless and hunted, things don’t look good. But armed with a Smith and Wesson seven-shooter and a knack for disguises, P.K. takes on the tricksters and desperados who are out to get him and he finds possible allies: Sam Clemens, the new reporter for the paper, a gambler called ‘Poker Face Jace’ who knows how to tell if someone is bluffing, a derringer-packing Soiled Dove, and a Chinese photographer’s apprentice called Ping.




Friday, 27 May 2011

Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Title: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Books
Publication Date: 6 Jan 2011

Synopsis: From Amazon
Mackie Doyle is a replacement - a fairy child left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago, to replace the baby when it was stolen away by the fey. So though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie's real home is the fey world of tunnels and black, murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. Now, because his fey blood gives him fatal allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world. Mackie would give anything just to be normal, to live quietly amongst humans, practice his bass guitar and spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably back home to the fey underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem, where he must face down the dark creatures, rescue the child, and find his rightful place - in our world, or theirs.


I have to say it took me ages to get around to reading this one, I pushed it to the top of my TBR pile when a Year 12 informed us that she thought the content may be unsuitable for younger pupils. I therefore, had to check for myself. I will say that there are two incidences of what can be classed as ‘heavy petting’ but nothing graphic or untoward. I have blocked it for Year 7 pupils to be on the safe side.

I love the premise of this book; the changeling story is exposed from the outset. The story is told in first person narrative from Mackie’s perspective. He is the changeling. His family is aware and helped cover up the fact that Mackie is far from human. Revelations surrounding his family situation and the retribution inflicted by the fey, added depth to the plot. I must say I had never really thought about the iron in blood affecting fairies. This fact however, is contradicted by the blood worship of the Morrigan.

The Morrigan in traditional Celtic Mythology is the Goddess of Battle/War, commonly depicted as a crow. It was difficult for me to reconcile the traditional image of the Morrigan with the character depicted in this book. Yes, she is cruel and vengeful but the blood drinking had shades of vampire imagery that did not work for me.

Two separate fairy courts at odds with on another is something used quite often when dealing with stories about fairies. The use of the undead as part of one court was however quite surprising and occasionally gross.

What stood out about this book for me is the way in which Mackie’s relationships are depicted. He is insecure and nervous from having to always hide who he really is. He doesn’t think he deserves to be loved or have friends. Yet it is Mackie’s relationships that have provided the means for him to survive in the human world. The relationship with his sister, Emma, is touching and co-dependent in a non-creepy way. His friends are accepting, caring and loyal; supporting Mackie both physically and emotionally. No matter whether you are a changeling or a human there is nothing more you could ask for than that.

I adored the way in which the mean girl was portrayed as having her tongue pierced, which of course is poisonous to Mackie. Taking the meaning of venomous words to another level.

There is lots of atmospheric tension aided by the fantastic music references. The guitarist portrayed brought to mind images of Slash from Guns ’n’ Roses which I am pretty sure was intentional.

This book has taken aspects of a few different paranormal stereotypes and molded them together, for me; this did not connect very well in my imagination. It is a very different
story with multi-themes but if I am honest it didn’t fully live up to my expectations.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Musical Moments: Guest Post: The Soundtrack to my Life by Leanne of YA Forever


With little introduction from me over to Leanne:

I was on Twitter when I saw Emma discussing doing a soundtrack to your life style post, straight away this got my attention. Music was my very first love. It was the first thing that made me fangirl and I'm happy to say I have been fangirling ever since!

I have so many favourite songs it would be impossible for me to find a top ten list, so for me I'm definitely going with a soundtrack route. Songs that have a story to my fondness of them. I'll start from the beginning and I warn you, some of this is bliming cringe worthy!!!

Yep I started my fandomness on Kylie Minogue, I was the coolest kid! I guess it started with seeing her as Sharleen in Neighbours, which I adored. I had a big crush on Jason Donovan, her then boyfriend. Her life seemed perfect to me at the time, I really wanted to be her. I was only 4 I should add. My Mum and Dad bought all of her albums and videos for me. Many hours were devoted to her! Although I find this quite lame now, I'm also really grateful that she was my first introduction to the fandom life!

This one is actually more about my brother. I was the Kylie fan, he liked Billy. I can remember him playing his music all the time and I believe his music was in a lot of movie soundtracks. Always leaves me with happy thoughts and transports me to easier childhood days.

This is probably one of the first real songs that I loved. I can even remember where I was the first time I heard it. I was in my living room, early evening on a Tuesday and was watching the Ozone on BBC2.

 They used to do interviews with bands and play music. They played this song as their last song of the evening. I was mesmerised by the TV. I found it the most beautiful song and the video was as remarkable at the time. Its still one of my all time favourite songs.

French and Saunders also did a parody of the video, very funny!!

Take That were probably my biggest obsession ever. I lived for them. Even my teachers at school knew me as the Take That girl. It completely took over my life, but I can honestly say I was probably at my happiest. I loved Robbie Williams and worked out our differences, so I knew when it would be OK for us to get married - I know I was that scary type of fan. But only 9 years old, so very harmless!

Relight My Fire is another song, that I can remember exactly where I was the first time I heard it - Thursday evening on Top Of The Pops. It was just the best thing I had ever seen. I recorded the performance and played it for the rest of the evening in my room. I had the lyrics remembered by the next day too. Serious happy days for me!!

This actually jumps a few years for me. I went to see Romeo and Juliet at the cinema with a friend. We were both 11, but got into see it even though it was a 12 - we felt so cool that day!! The film absolutely depressed me for days afterwards, but left me with an absolute love of this song which was featured in it.

Thank you to Leanne for that truly wonderful Part 1 of The Soundtrack to my Life, I am amazed at how clearly Leanne can remember the moment she heard these songs and how they affected her. Make sure to check back in a few weeks for Part 2.

Check out Leanne's blog YA Forever here

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Review: Passion by Lauren Kate

Title: Passion
Series: Fallen
Author: Lauren Kate
Publisher: Doubleday Children’s
Publication Date: 23 Jun 2011

Synopsis: From Amazon

Before Luce and Daniel met at Sword and Cross, before they fought the Immortals, they had already lived many lives. And so Luce, desperate to unlock the curse that condemns their love, must revisit her past incarnations in order to understand her fate. Each century, each life, holds a different clue.
But Daniel is chasing her throughout the centuries before she has a chance to rewrite history.
How many deaths can one true love endure?
And can Luce and Daniel unlock their past in order to change their future?

As this is the 3rd book in the series it may contain spoilers for Fallen and Torment.

If you have read my reviews of Fallen and Torment you know how much I love this series. I mean angels, demons, the giant battle of good versus evil and soul mates, this series has everything I adore. I was so excited when it came through my letterbox that I dropped everything to read it. I must state that it is necessary to read the books in order to fully appreciate the intricacies of the plot.

The first thing that really stood out for me with Passion is that the chapters had dates under the headings; I jumped out of bed to check the copies of Fallen and Torment just to double check that these had not had dates in. Then I remembered the jaw-dropping cliff hanger that occurred in Torment and realized why there were dates at the beginning of the chapters *doh*.

Significant dates throughout history were used to re-enforce the storyline, the history woven into the narrative gave the plot a rich setting. The descriptive writing style managed to bring all of the different time periods to glorious life within my imagination. Although I am not a writer myself I can still appreciate that this must be a very difficult thing to achieve and it is a credit to Lauren Kate that she manages it so well.

The romance between Luce and Daniel was enchanting to behold although at times felt voyeuristic with the intensity of the emotion portrayed. For all those people that were team Miles at the end of Torment I am pretty sure this book will change your mind.

The portrayal of events between Daniel and Luce over the millenia; Luce’s continued combustion and how it has shaped Daniel’s personality provided much needed insight into Daniel’s personality. I have to admit that I am absolutely frustrated with the lack of answers to the IS She or ISN’T She question – I really really really need that clarified – in nice simple terms PLEASE [ ; D ]
The revelation to the origin of the curse and the loophole that Daniel and Luce currently find themselves in clarified and strengthened the plot.

The introduction of Bill to the cast of characters gave another direction for the story; throughout I was constantly trying to double guess what his motives were. I have to admit that I was not expecting just how dynamic and malevolent those motives were. WOW

This really is the story of Daniel and Luce – all the other characters are there but in background roles. Insight is given into the past of some of the characters but this is a few little snippets sporadically placed throughout; although I will say they are important developments.

What can I say about the ending but OMGosh Lauren Kate has done it again, the cliff hanger to top that at the end of Torment. I have no idea how she sustains it. I cannot believe that I have to wait until Spring 2012 in order to find out what happens next.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Trailer Tuesday: Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck


To celebrate the paperback release this week I thought I would show you these beautiful covers and gorgeous trailer to add to your excitement.

Title: Tiger’s Curse
Series: Tigers
Author: Colleen Houck
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Publication Date: 26 May 2011

Synopsis: From Amazon

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that's exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Title: Tiger’s Quest
Series: Tiger’s Curse
Author: Colleen Houck
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Publication Date: 9 Jun 2011

Synopsis: From Amazon

Back in Oregon, Kelsey tries to pick up the pieces of her life and push aside her feelings for Ren. But danger lurks around the corner, forcing her to return to India where she embarks on a second quest-this time
with Ren's dark, bad-boy brother Kishan, who has also fallen prey to the Tiger's Curse.
Fraught with danger, spellbinding dreams, and choices of the heart, TIGER'S QUEST brings the trio one step closer to breaking the spell that binds them.

 Aren't they just gorgeous.
I am really looking forward to seeing some reviews of these lovelies.

Monday, 23 May 2011

MG Monday: New Series by Garth Nix and Sean Williams plus Tour Dates


Title: TroubleTwisters
Series: TroubleTwisters
Author: Garth Nix and Sean Williams
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd
Publication Date: 6 Jun 2011

Synopsis: From Amazon

Twin siblings Jack and Jaide discover they are pivotal to a secret supernatural organisation that protects the earth from marauding Evil! Portland might seem like a quiet coastal town, and their grandmother is perhaps no dottier than anyone else's, but it soon becomes apparent that the strange things going on around them are anything BUT ordinary. It's all very well discovering that you suddenly have magical powers, but when you don't know exactly what they are, or how to use them, then facing impending peril doesn't seem like a very good idea at all...

How fantastic does this sound!!!!!

Keep checking the official TimeTwisters site HERE for updates and inside information.

PLUS they will be in the UK for a few select dates - HOW AWESOME IS THAT


Sunday, 22 May 2011

In My Mailbox #17-11

In My Mailbox is hosted by the lovely Story Siren enabling me to give thanks to the lovely people that aid and abet my book addiction [ : D ]
This weeks thanks go to Viv from Serendipity for being an amazing friend.
Nina from Orion and Jenny from Wondrous Reads for introducing me to The Raven Mysteries and helping me make a beautiful Middle Grade Monday button with the artwork. 
Along with the other lovely publishers that have sent me such fantastic books for review.

Gifted and Won from the lovely Viv at Serendipity

For Review:

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors (I love the sound of this one)
Trouble Twisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams (more info on this one tomorrow)

Gifted and for Review from Nina:

The Raven Mysteries (how flippin awesome) by Marcus Sedgwick

I am really looking forward to reading these alongside the girlies.

That's is it for this week. I hope you all have a fabulous week and thanks for stopping by my blog <3 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Saturday Spotlight: EXTRA CONTENT: Arriane's Day Out: Lauren Kate


Title: Passion
Series: Fallen
Author: Lauren Kate
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens
Publication Date: 23 Jun 2011

Synopsis: From Amazon
The third book in the incredible FALLEN series.

Before Luce and Daniel met at Sword and Cross, before they fought the Immortals, they had already lived many lives. And so Luce, desperate to unlock the curse that condemns their love, must revisit her past incarnations in order to understand her fate. Each century, each life, holds a different clue.

But Daniel is chasing her throughout the centuries before she has a chance to rewrite history.

How many deaths can one true love endure?

And can Luce and Daniel unlock their past in order to change their future?

5: Arriane’s Day Out

“Wide load! Coming through!”

Arriane wheeled a large red shopping cart down the housewares aisle of the Savannah Salvation Army thrift store. Her thin arms gripped the handlebar as she heaved the heavy cart forward. She’d already loaded it up with two polka-dotted lamp shades, a sofa’s worth of tacky pillows, nine plastic Halloween lanterns filled with long-expired candy, half a dozen cheap patterned dresses, a few shoe boxes full of bumper stickers, and a pair of neon-colored roller skates. So by this point it was difficult for Arriane, who stood scarcely five feet tall, to see where she was steering.

“Step aside, toots, unless you have no need for your toes. That’s right, I’m talking to you. And your toddler.”

“Arriane,” Roland said calmly. He was one aisle over, flipping through a milk crate crammed with dusty vinyl records. His pin-striped blazer was unbuttoned, showing a Pink Floyd T-shirt underneath. His thick dreadlocks hung down slightly over his dark eyes. “You really know how to keep a low profile, don’t you?”

“Hey!” Arriane sounded wounded as she tried to maneuver her shopping cart in a hairpin turn and wheeled down Roland’s aisle. She stopped in front of him and jabbed an electric-blue-painted fingernail into his chest. “I take my work here seriously, pal. We have a lot of goods to procure in just two days.”

Arriane’s words seemed to remind her of something that filled her with sudden joy. Her pastel blue eyes ignited and a wide grin spread across her face. She gripped Roland’s arm and shook him, causing her long black hair to tumble from its messy bun. It flowed down to her waist and shimmered as she cried, “Two days! Two days! Our Lucy’s coming back to us in two freaking days!”

Roland chuckled. “You’re cute when you’re excited.”

“Then I must be the mayor of Adorableville right now!” Arriane leaned against a rack of old stereo equipment and sighed a happy little sigh. “I live for her arrivals. I mean, not in the same way Daniel does, obviously. But I do feel a certain speck of delight at the prospect of seeing her again.” She rested her head on Roland’s shoulder. “Do you think she’ll have changed?”

Roland was back to flipping through the box of records. Every third or fourth one he tossed into Arriane’s shopping cart. “She’s had a whole other life, Arri. Of course she’ll have changed a little bit.”

Arriane threw down the Sly and the Family Stone album she’d been examining. “But she’ll still be our Lucinda—”

“That does seem to be the pattern,” Roland said, giving Arriane the are-you-crazy look she got from most people—including everyone else at the thrift store—but not usually from Roland. “At least, it’s been that way for the past several thousand years. Why would you even have to ask?”

“Dunno.” Arriane shrugged. “I passed Miss Sophia in the office at Sword and Cross. She was hauling around all these boxes of files, muttering about ‘preparations.’ Like everything had to be perfect or something. I don’t want Luce to show up and be disappointed. Maybe she’ll be different, really different this time. You know how I feel about change.”

She peered into her shopping cart. The tacky pillows she’d thrown into it in case this Luce, like the last Luce, could be cheered up with a raging pillow fight—suddenly, they just looked ugly and childish to Arriane. And the roller skates? When were they ever going to use roller skates at a reform school? What was she thinking? She’d gotten carried away. Again.

Roland tweaked Arriane’s nose. “At the risk of sounding banal, I say just be yourself. Luce will love you. She always does. And if all else fails,” he said, sifting though the booty Arriane had tossed into the cart, “there’s always your secret weapon.” He held up the small plastic bag of drinking straws with paper umbrellas glued onto them. “You should definitely bust out these guys.”

“You’re right. As usual.” Arriane smiled, patting Roland on the head. “I do throw a mean happy hour.” She slung her arm around his waist as the two of them wheeled the heavy cart down the aisle.

As they walked, Roland looked down at the shopping list he’d made on his BlackBerry. “We got the party music. We got the decorations for your room, and the duct tape—”

“How you go through so much duct tape is one of the great mysteries of the universe.”

“Anything else we need here before we go to the gourmet store?”

Arriane wrinkled her nose. “Gourmet store? But . . . Luce likes junk food.”

“Don’t shoot the messenger,” Roland said. “Cam asked me to pick him up some caviar, a pound of figs, a few other things.”

“Caviar? First of all, gag me. Second of all, what would Cam want with caviar? Wait a minute—”

She stopped short in the middle of the aisle, causing another shopper with a cartful of discount Christmas decorations to rear-end them. Arriane let the woman pass, then lowered her voice. “Cam’s not going to try to seduce Luce again, is he?”

Roland went back to pushing the cart. He was excellent at keeping mum when he needed to, and it always pissed Arriane off.

“Roland.” She wedged her black boot under the wheel of the shopping cart to stop it in its tracks. “Need I remind you of the disaster that was 1684? Not to mention the calamity Cam caused in 1515? And I know you remember what happened when he tried to hit on her in the year eleven-twent—”

“You also know I try to stay out of all the drama.”

“Yeah.” Arriane muttered. “And yet you’re always there in the heart of it.”

He rolled his eyes and tried to push past Arriane. She held her ground. “I’m sorry, but courtly Cam is my nightmare. I much prefer him snarling and foaming at the mouth like the devil dog he is.” Arriane panted like a rabid dog for a moment, but when it didn’t get a laugh out of Roland, she crossed her arms over her chest. “And speaking of how utterly horrible your numero uno cohort is over there on the dark side, when are you going to come back to us, Ro?”

Roland didn’t miss a beat. “When I can believe in the cause.”

“Okay, Monsieur Anarchy. So that’s like . . . never?”

“No,” he said, “that’s like, wait and see. We just have to wait and see.”

They were passing the thrift store’s gardening aisle, whose wares included a tangled green hose, a stack of chipped terra-cotta pots, some used doormats, and a generic late-model leaf blower. But it was the large vase of white silk peonies that made both Arriane and Roland stop.

Arriane sighed. She didn’t like to get too sentimental—there were angels like Gabbe to do that—but this was one of those things about Daniel and Luce that always kind of touched her.

At least once in every lifetime, Daniel gave Luce a huge bouquet of flowers. They were always, without fail, white peonies. There must have been a story behind it: Why peonies instead of tulips or gladiolas? Why white instead of red or pink? But even though some of the other angels speculated, Arriane realized that the specifics behind this tradition were not for her to know. She didn’t know from love, other than what she saw in Luce and Daniel, but she enjoyed the ceremony. And the way Luce always seemed more touched by this gesture than by anything else Daniel did.

Arriane and Roland looked at each other. Like they were thinking the same thing.

Or were they?

Why was Roland’s face twitching?

“Don’t buy those for him, Arri.”

“I would never buy those for him,” Arriane said. “They’re fake. It would totally defeat the purpose of the gesture. We have to get real ones, big huge beautiful real ones, in a crystal vase with a ribbon, and then only when the time is right. We never know if it’s going to come quickly or not. It could be weeks, months, before they get to that point—” She froze, eyeing Roland skeptically. “But you know all this. So why would you tell me not to get them? Roland—what do you know?”

“Nothing.” His face twitched again.

“Roland Jebediah Sparks the Third.”

“Nothing.” He put up his hands in supplication.

“Tell me—”

“Nothing to tell.”

“Do you want another Indian wingburn?” she threatened, grabbing on to the back of his neck and feeling around for his shoulder blade.

“Look,” Roland said, flicking her away. “You worry about Luce and I worry about Daniel. That’s the drill, that’s always been the drill—”

“Screw your drill,” she pouted, turning away from him to face a checkout attendant.

Arriane looked genuinely hurt, and if there was one thing Roland couldn’t stand, it was hurting her. He let out a long, deep breath. “Thing is, I just don’t know if Daniel’s going to go for all the same patterns this time around. Maybe he doesn’t want to do the peonies.”

“Why not?” Arriane asked, and Roland started to answer, but her expression changed into something sad. She held up a hand for him to stop. “It’s wearing Daniel out, isn’t it?”

Arriane rarely felt stupid, but she did now, standing in the middle of the thrift store with her cart overflowing with goofy props and practical jokes. It wasn’t that the whole thing was a game to her—but it was different for the rest of them than it was for Daniel.

Arriane had started thinking about when Luce . . . went away each lifetime like her friend was just trucking off to summer camp while Arriane had to stay home. Luce would be back. Things would be boring in the meantime without her, but she would always come back.

But for Daniel—

His heart broke. It must have broken a little more every time. How could he stand it? Maybe, she realized, he couldn’t. And he had been abnormally low in this life. Had Daniel’s punishment finally gotten to a point where it had broken not just his heart, but him?

What if it had? The really sad part was, it wouldn’t matter. Everyone knew that Daniel still had to go on living. Still had to fall in love with Luce. Just like the rest of them still had to watch, gently nudging the lovebirds toward their inevitable climax.

It wasn’t like Daniel could do anything about it, so why not keep up with the good and sweet and loving parts of their story? Why not give Luce the peonies?

“He doesn’t want to love her this time,” Roland finally said.

“That’s blasphemy.”

“That’s Daniel,” they both said at the same time.

“Well, what are we supposed to do?” Arriane asked.

“Stick within our territory. Provide the earthly goods they need when they need them. And you provide the comic relief.”

Arriane shot him a look, but Roland shook his head. “I’m serious.”

“Serious about joking?”

“Serious that you have a role to play.”

He tossed her a pink tutu from the clearance bin near the checkout line. Arriane fingered the thick tulle. She was still thinking about what it might mean for all of them if Daniel really resisted falling for Luce. If he somehow broke the cycle and they didn’t get together. But it gave her a really heavy feeling inside, like her heart was being dragged down to her feet.

In a matter of seconds, Arriane was tugging the tutu up over her jeans and pirouetting through the store. She bounded into a pair of sisters in matching muumuus, crashed into an easel advertising new linens, and nearly took out a display of candlesticks before Roland caught her in his arms. He twirled her around so the tutu flowed out around her tiny waist.

“You’re crazy,” he said.

“You love it,” Arriane responded dizzily.

“You know I do.” He smiled. “Come on, let’s pay for this stuff and get out of here. We have a lot to do before she gets here.”

Arriane nodded. A lot to do to make sure things were as they should be: Luce and Daniel, falling in love. With everyone around them holding out the hope that somehow, someday, she’d live through it.

Text © 2010 by Tinderbox Books, LLC and Lauren Kate.
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