Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Release Date: 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Age: YA
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Tragedy, Love, Coming of Age, High School
Format: ebook
Source: Library
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.
No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.
But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?
This is a good book, with great writing, that is mysterious enough to make you want to read to the last page and it had everything I needed in a story right now, because my one year old keeps me more entertained than a lot of the books I've sat down to read. But, this one kept me hooked because I had to know how it ended!

The Beginning of Everything is a good coming of age story about a boy who loses everything he thought he was made of only to gain perspective and become more of who he really is. It's funny, yet not mindless, and filled with witty quotes and kids who talk like adults. It's a YA novel that adults can appreciate as well and I found Robyn Schneider's writing style similar to John Green's. It takes place mostly over the beginning of Ezra's (OMG I love that name, Vampire Weekend anybody?) senior year when he becomes reunited with his past and realizes things are different from the outside. The reflective nature of this book is something I always love, characters who change and grow. Cassidy brings a puzzling nature to the story as the reader and Ezra try to figure her out. She's straight forward when it comes to speaking her mind but not her heart. Toby was by far my favorite character. He's Ezra's best childhood friend and they rekindle their friendship as if they've never parted. I think we all have friends like Toby and can relate to their relationship.

I will say, and nothing to do with the writing, but after reading the story I'm just not crazy about the title or cover of this book. I love them, but not for this story. Severed Heads, Broken Hearts is the UK title and I love that so much more for this story.


Cover Reveal: Hard Knox by Nicole Williams


A New Series by NYT Bestselling Author
Nicole Williams

The Outsider Chronicles, #1

New Adult/Adult Contemporary

August 12, 2014

Cover designed by Okay Creations

Knox Jagger. The name inspires resent in every male at Sinclair University, want in
every female, and contempt in Charlie Chase.

Charlie can be summed up in three words: independent, independent, and independent. To Charlie, Knox epitomizes everything that’s wrong with college males: prolific one-night stands, drunken senseless fights, and a body that hints at prioritizing gym time over study time.

As an up-and-coming writer for Sinclair University’s newspaper, Charlie’s tasked with getting to the bottom of who’s been dropping little white pills into girls’ drinks at parties. In an ocean of All-American boys sporting polo shirts and innocent smiles, Knox is the obvious suspect. As evidence piles up against the bad boy of Sinclair, Charlie becomes more and more certain it isn’t Knox. But when her drink is dosed at a party and she wakes up on Knox’s couch the next morning, Charlie’s left with more questions than answers when it comes to Knox Jagger.

How can Charlie ever hope to uncover the truth behind a guy so closed off he’s become . . . Hard Knox.

About the Author
I’m the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the CRASH series (HarperTeen, S&S UK), LOST & FOUND series, UP IN FLAMES (S&S UK), The EDEN TRILOGY, and a handful of others. I write stories about everyday kinds
of people who find themselves in extraordinary kinds of situations. I tell love
stories with happy endings because I believe in making the world a better
place, and that’s one tiny way I can make it so. I’m one of those people who
still believe in true love and soul mates, and would rather keep my head in the
clouds any day over having my feet firmly on the ground.

The author is offering (1) print copy of HARD KNOX! 
Visit her Facebook page to enter!

To sign-up for the HARD KNOX Blog Hop in honor of this release 
and/or the HARD KNOX Blog Tour, visit AToMR’s site!

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Giveaways: Eleanor & Park and My Life Next Door

To celebrate the end of Promo Week I have two books to giveaway! 

I've done a giveaway for My Life Next Door before and I have another copy to pass on! I also have a copy of Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell is a GENIUS) to giveaway! Unfortunately both are US only, sorry guys. 

May the odds be ever in your favor ;)




Check Out: Blaze Tuesday and the Case of the Knight Surgeon

Blaze Tuesday and the Case of the Knight Surgeon (book 1) by Kai Kiriyama
Release Date: August 5, 2014

Clockwork body parts are touted as a medical miracle by the companies who make them, high fashion by the stars who sport them, and a lot of kids go through illegal surgeries. The sub-culture of Gearheads is full of kids with robotic body parts from poorly done surgery in less-than-sanitary conditions, and these are surgeries that don’t always take.

Blaze Tuesday is New York's most accomplished private investigator. A former police officer with a bone to pick with the corruption in the city, he's earned a name for himself as a guy who gets results, and who is willing to uphold the moral values so many others have forgotten, even if he has to break a few faces to do it.

Blaze is hired by Wayside Firms, one of the medical firms that produces the Clockwork, when a charity doctor who worked specifically with less-fortunate kids who have had botched illegal, is found murdered. As Blaze investigates the unfortunate death, he discovers a conspiracy that stretches from the lowest gutters in Hell’s Kitchen, to the highest corporate fat cats at the medical firms who create the Clockwork body parts.

Can Blaze get justice for the dead doctor, and bring some hope back to the kids in Hell's Kitchen who were counting on the Doctor's help? Or will he get caught up in the underworld of body modification and the big money it brings in?

A writer of many things and many genres, Kai is currently working on a novel (you can pretty much always assume that she's writing something!) that involves murder, mayhem and probably a ghost or some other form of otherworldly creature. She is also working on some non-fiction but she's not entirely sure why.

Kai has been writing for far too long and she's convinced that both her "to be read" and "to be written" lists will never be completed before she dies. She has a diploma in palmistry and can read hands with an accuracy that scares even her sometimes.

A time-travelling, demon hunting, Asgardian geek, with an affinity for pokemon and Shakespeare, you can be sure that there will be general insanity and dubious wisdom dispensed no matter where you chat with her. As always, she requests that you "be excellent to each other" while she's away.

Kai currently lives in Canada, but if she told you where, you'd have about fifteen seconds to assume the party position before the special ops team arrives.

She can be reached by email at kai@theraggedyauthor.com or on twitter @RaggedyAuthor


Check Out: Pieces of Olivia

Pieces of Olivia: Charleston Haven #1 by Melissa West
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Penguin/InterMix
Age: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance, College
Buy it: Amazon 

Other books by Melissa, Gravity and Hover
Olivia Warren used to be a normal girl with a bright future.
But on one fated night, everything changed.

Hiding the scars of her past up her sleeves, Olivia transfers her enrollment from Columbia University to The College of Charleston, determined to pursue her own dreams for the first time in her life.

She intends to allow herself a bit of alone time to heal... that is, until she meets Preston.

Preston is best friends with her roommate, completely hot, and off-limits. But the chemistry between them is instantaneous—and as the pair begins to spend more time with one another, their feelings for each other build into something undeniable, something powerful enough to heal Olivia’s deepest scars.

Olivia tries to put her own past behind her and trust Preston, but she discovers that his past might be more present than she ever bargained for…

Melissa West writes young adult and new adult novels for Entangled Teen and Embrace and Penguin/InterMix. She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.

She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and a M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange.


Check Out: Nova by A.J. Kane

Nova: Daughters of Darkness by A.J. Kane
Release Date: May 2014
Genre: Witches, Paranormal, Fantasy, Magic
Buy it: Amazon
A prophecy, a dark lord who looks way too good in black, and, well, Ireland … the perfect ingredients for a dangerous brew.

Nova and her sisters are witches. They've always known about magic and their ability to use it, but never in their wildest dreams did they imagine the role it would play in their lives. It all begins with a trip to Ireland and then some haunting dreams. Nova is torn from her sisters and then her heart is torn in two when she begins to fall for the guy no girl should ever fall for. Will she make the right choices? And when the battle rages, who will be left standing?
About the Author:
A.J. Kane resides in beautiful southern Maine where she writes Paranormal, Fantasy and Romance. She is currently working on the second book in her new adult paranormal trilogy, Daughters of Darkness; due out in 2014. Her writing is fueled by chocolate, coffee and pasta, in no particular order. She has a life goal of traveling to Ireland at least once, and possibly never leaving. Her hobbies are reading, cursing (quite frequently), singing and listening to PINK obsessively, even though she is a rock chick at heart. Some of her favorite bands are mostly unknown, like Halestorm, Prospect Hill and Our Last Night. A.J. would love to hear from you! Contact her on Twitter @ajkaneauthor www.twitter.com/ajkaneauthor or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ajkaneauthor.

Nova turned to see her parents and Kyna standing behind Branna. “Why are you out here in this? You should be in the circle, where you’ll be safe!” she reprimanded Niamh and Craven.
“And leave you three out here to fend for yourselves? Nova, you know we can’t do that.” The incredulous look on her father’s face would have been comical if the situation weren’t so serious.
Even though Nova understood their need to see for themselves that their children were safe, she still hated the fact that they were in danger.
“We were born for this and have the powers to defend ourselves.”
“Oh, we are not defenseless, Nova.” Her mother said. Joining hands with Craven, Niamh chanted a spell, causing plumes of smoke to billow in and swirl around them; hiding them from view.
“Cool” Kyna loved it when her parents performed magic.
Her mother grinned. “See, we did manage to keep some power to ourselves.” Their parents looked at each other, happy they could show their daughters they were here to fight, not to be protected.
The archers, now in the trees, began to rain arrows down on the demon swarm. That gave Nova, her sisters and their parents a chance to break through the throng. Spotting Felken, who had been missing since the king tossed him away, Nova and her sisters went after him.
Branna shot fire blasts at a cluster of demons in their way,
“Where is he?” Kyna yelled as she dodged a scaly arm swiping at her neck. She parried and stabbed through the arm with the knife in her left hand. Sweeping her right hand up, she glided the blade of that knife across the demon’s throat. Blood, black and thick, gurgled up out of its mouth, and she watched the life drain from his cold yellow eyes. It made her sick to think of how many lives she had taken so far and how many more she had yet to take. As if she sensed the struggle within her sister, Nova gave Kyna’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze.
“We’ll get through this, Kyna. We won’t be the same people when it’s over, but we will get through it.”
“Ah, girls, you may want to get over here.” Niamh’s voice trembled with fear. Following her mother’s line of vision, Nova felt her heart stop. This can’t be real, she thought. Even with all the crazy shit she’d seen recently, this definitely took the cake.
“What the fuck is that!” Branna yelled, her hands engulfed in flames, ready to blast the shit out of the new arrival.


Check Out: How We Deal With Gravity

How We Deal With Gravity by Ginger Scott
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Age: New Adult, Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Family
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

The first week of sales will go to an Autism Organization in Arizona called Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC)

When her son Max was diagnosed with autism, Avery Abbot’s life changed forever. Her husband left, and her own dreams became a distant fantasy—always second to fighting never-ending battles to make sure Max was given opportunity, love and respect. Finding someone to fight along her side wasn’t even on her list, and she’d come to terms with the fact that she could never be her own priority again.

But a familiar face walking into her life in the form of 25-year-old Mason Street had Avery’s heart waging a war within. Mason was a failure. When he left his hometown five years ago, he was never coming back—it was only a matter of time before his records hit the billboard charts. Women, booze and rock-n-roll—that was it for him. But it seemed fate had a different plan in mind, and with a dropped record contract, little money and nowhere to go, Mason turned to the only family that ever made him feel home—the Abbots.

Avery loved Mason silently for years—until he broke her heart…completely. But time and life have a funny way of changing people, and sometimes second chances are there for a reason. Could this one save them both?

The Inspiration Behind How We Deal With Gravity
by Ginger Scott

So why autism? Why a love story about a single mom, raising a child with autism? Why this story? To understand what inspired Avery and Mason and Max, I need to take you back to my beginning with autism.

My path with autism began as a journalist. I had just left the newspaper world where I was working as a breaking news reporter covering crime, courts and politics and entered the land of magazine writing, and I was hungry to write a story that really mattered. I mean really mattered. I was working for a fairly sizeable glossy magazine here in Arizona, and I had the opportunity to cover some pretty posh places and high-profile people. And I loved every minute of that. But I still felt like I was missing the grit, the power of real storytelling. And out of the blue, the idea of autism—what it’s really like to be a family living with autism—hit me.

I didn’t know much, a vague impression of what autism was. But I made my pitch, found a few key local connections and was off and running on my assignment. I read article after article, medical journal after medical journal, and book after book—and everything felt like it was upside down and impossible to understand. A typical journey for a person’s first experience researching autism, I would later come to understand.

Once I had soaked in what I could on my own, I took a deep breath and called an organization here in Arizona that would be my anchor, and hopefully put me in touch with families, doctors, therapists, teachers—people who could help me make sense of what I’d learned so I could tell the story to others. This place is called the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC), and when I first entered its doors, it was nothing more than a library room and a few resource offices for therapy, meetings and assistance.

But it was enough.

I walked into SARRC as a journalist on her mission for a good story, and I walked away changed forever. I met the founder, Denise Resnik, and spent time with her family learning first hand what went into raising a child with autism. But I also learned what went into igniting a wave of change—a movement. When the Resniks received a diagnosis of autism, they processed it with grief, anger, frustration, despair, hope and will, as many families do. And then they dug in and started something—something…big.

Since those early days, SARRC has grown into one of the national leaders in autism research, spawning programs like job training for young adults, genome studies, integrated pre-school programs and more. That tiny building has grown into an enormous one, and SARRC’s reach is mighty.
I have never been inspired by anything more my life, and that first story, which turned into my favorite thing I’ve ever written, ignited a passion in me to help however I can to spread autism’s story. Over the years, I have volunteered my writing services to SARRC, telling dozens of stories of families, doctors, programs, achievements, triumphs and inspirations. And over that time, I have had family members face autism diagnoses as well as many friends.

Fast forward to a few months ago, when another idea found its way into my head. I had a new story I wanted to tell—this time, as an author. Autism is a powerful subject in its own right, and the numbers, unfortunately, show that it’s something more and more of us are intimately aware of (the latest studies show one in 68 children in the US are affected). I’m not the same person I was when I first walked through SARRC’s doors. I’ve absorbed and helped share some pretty powerful true stories—stories of challenged marriages, crushed spirits and loss. But somehow, people find a way to persevere. And that…that…is what HOW WE DEAL WITH GRAVITY IS ABOUT.

Autism is consuming. It becomes a parent’s priority, and things like love, happiness…and life…take a bake seat. Ah but hope—hope. This one word is something I hear in every interview of every family affected by autism. So when I created Avery Abbot, I wanted to push her to the edge of almost losing hope—and then I wanted to give her chance. And that’s how Mason Street was born.

You see, love and hope are deeply intertwined, and I believe you need to use one to fight for the other. And when you are raising a child with autism, love and hope almost take on super human strength, because you need them to survive. And I wanted to tell a story that honored that fight. So while GRAVITY is a love story between two people who are losing hope, it’s also my love song to the many mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and grandparents who have opened up their hearts to me and shared their stories with me over the years. They’ve changed me, and I hope I do them justice.


Review: Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher
Release Date: April 5, 2014
Age: Adult, 17+
Genre: Dark, Contemporary, Suspense, Kidnapping, Mystery, Thriller, Romance
Format: ebook
Source: purchased
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
($.99 ebooks for limited time at Amazon and BN)

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat... and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.
When I was reading this book, I felt like I was holding my breath. I was suffocating in a need and then I was part of the story. I was so involved in Tarryn's words that I was affected wholly around every corner and every surprise. This book will stay with me and haunt me and possibly take over my brain at some point. There aren't words to describe the tight feeling in my chest when I look at the cover or the chills that consume my body when I think about the plot.
"You are a stillness. And I tried to move you. It didn't work. But that doesn't mean you didn't move me. " 
This book is a secret. A dark and twisted secret built and built and built on pain and self reflection. It's a book that you as a reader will try to figure out and wrap your head around but until you finish the story and put it down you will be so absorbed and lost that coherent thoughts may not be possible. It's beautiful and it's broken, and I loved it.

Of all the books I've read, this book has by far the most highlighted passages.
"Every minute you spent getting to know me, I got to know me."
Not only is Mud Vein dark it is also a beautifully imperfect love story, a story about the tie that two people have and the pain it causes and the suffering it endures. Soul mates. The story is not words on a page it is a movie playing in my brain, Tarryn's words are exhausting. They're perfect and digestible, they're memorable and painful. She's the best and if you disagree, we can't be friends.

I spent this review talking about my feelings for the book as a sort of therapy, I can't get over this book. I did not dissect the story because I want you to be just as lost and miserable as I was. Go on.

I recommend this book to fans of: Karina Halle, Tarryn Fisher (duh), C.J. Roberts, Kathryn Perez, and J.A. Redmerski.


Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Publisher: Atria
Age: New Adult
Genre: Music, Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, College
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
At twenty-two years old, aspiring musician Sydney Blake has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her good friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter cheating on her with Tori—and she is left trying to decide what to do next.
Sydney becomes captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge Lawson. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the daily guitar playing he does out on his balcony. She can feel the harmony and vibrations in his music. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either: He seems to have finally found his muse. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…
I kind of stalk Colleen Hoover and as soon as she mentioned another book I may have, definitely did, squeal and freak and sit quite impatiently waiting for the release. Which felt like it took FOREVER. Then, on release day, I bought the book but waited a few days to start it and seriously read it the slowest I have ever read a book. Yes, I was excited, but I was savoring every second and detail. No lie, this book took me over a week to complete. I KNOW. For me, that's nuts. But, I didn't want it to end, I was enjoying the story and characters way too much.

My favorite thing about Colleen's books is the surprise journey she leads the reader on. Reading the blurb I always think her books sound pretty straight forward and then.. she does the Colleen thing and just completely blows my freaking mind.

The added element to hear the songs created in the story was so fun and it introduced me to another artist to follow. You need to read this book and I know a lot of you have or will, but those Colleen-virgins seriously need to jump on the bandwagon. You know who you are.


Check Out: X&Y by Rebecca Finlayson

X&Y by Rebecca Finlayson
Age: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian
Buy it: Amazon
“With remarkable intelligence, stunning beauty, and – as the daughter of the head of the Triad, Society’s top three Human Designers – immeasurable wealth, Olivia Adonane’s future is assured. Wanting the same for her best friend Lily, whose world is far beneath her own, Olivia doesn’t know that she could kill her friend with her kindness. With her humble background, university is not something to which one such as Lily Brown is allowed to aspire.
By designing all humans in the womb, Society – formerly known as Great Britain – tells its citizens it is building Utopia, though Olivia discovers that this is far from the truth. After watching Lily die in a secret chamber below the Triad Building in London, thanks to a law she didn’t even think was possible to break, the glass of Olivia’s perfect world is shattered.
From here on out, she has a choice. Will she continue on her pre-designed path, following in her father’s footsteps through medical school to become Society’s most powerful Human Designer? Or will she seek to rebel against the System, attempting to expose and overthrow the seemingly-invincible regime so that her fellow citizens can be truly free?”
Genetic engineering is set to be one of the most controversial topics of our time. Our world has the technology to do amazing things and genetic engineering, at least from a technical point of view, is one of them for sure. But just because it’s amazing, does it mean it is right?

I got the inspiration for “X&Y” a couple of years ago when I was supporting a Religious Studies lesson (I work as Teaching Assistant in a secondary school – 11-18 year olds). We were talking about genetic engineering and the ethics of it, particularly when it came to humans. The technology is there to begin eliminating fatal hereditary diseases from humans, which on the face of it is great. But where does it stop?

I imagined a society in which the process didn’t stop, and the whole country became subject to a regime of genetic engineering in order to reach Utopia. While on the face of it, particularly from the main character, Olivia’s, point of view, there is dark stuff going on behind the scenes. I found it fascinating to write from the point of view of someone who has everything and is faced with the choice to risk it all for what she believes in.

I hope that readers can relate to the things that my characters go through. After all, the issue of identity, in whatever context we face it, is something we all struggle with. I hope that readers enjoy the story and use it to question what is going on in our world today.

Below is the first chapter of X&Y. You can find the book, with a larger free sample, in the Amazon Kindle store.


Thunder rumbles in the early hours of this morning and when I wake I think of Lily and what we’re going to do today. We’re meeting before school so we can post off our university applications together. To anyone who does not know who we are it seems such a little thing, but in this day and age it is not. My Ambition means I’m guaranteed a place at a prestigious institution, but Lily’s venture is a little more uncertain. Her portfolio, given to her parents when she was still in her mother’s womb, states that her Ambition is to be a waitress, which I’ve always thought was some kind of mix-up, as I’ve never thought she was right for the Service Industry. Very clumsy, and perpetually distracted by “higher things”, as she calls them, her different Preparation Experiences in cafes and restaurants have always ended spectacularly badly, though I will give her current boss come credit; she is unremittingly patient with her. 
Lily is also extraordinarily clever, which is why I persuaded her to fill in a university application in the first place. Strange, I think, considering her family’s Ambitions, that her Tag gave her the chance to advance as much as she has. I know that Lily thinks this is too risky, bordering on dangerous – especially when the admissions boards find out about her humble family background. What harm is there in trying, though? Despite her reluctance, I know when she gets offered an opportunity to study Philosophy and Poetry she’ll be ecstatic and all the fear will have been worth it.
My own Ambition is very different. I will be following my father down the Designer route. First, six years of medical school followed by three more years of theoretical and practical study at the School of Human Design. I will learn how to create Tags with which to start unborn babies off on their uniquely selected paths, learn to further the research that reduces – and, hopefully, eventually eradicates – glitches in the System, and such like. My father is the most renowned Designer in the country, the head of the Triad – the Triad comprises of the country’s top three Designers – and one day I will take his place. It is a huge responsibility, but it is one for which I have specifically been Designed. I have no need to doubt myself. 
“Good morning, father,” I chime, kissing him on the cheek as I bounce down to the dining room for breakfast, schoolbag and big brown envelope at the ready. I fling them down untidily on a chair and fix myself some cereal. “Where’s mother?”
“Still in bed; she’s a little under the weather this morning. Not to worry though, she’ll be up and about in no time,” he says while sipping his coffee and reading the newspaper.
“What is the news like this morning?” 
“Calm, as usual,” he smiles, and my curious doubts are quieted. Why do I harbour them? Our Society is near perfect. While other nations are constantly embroiled in bitter civil struggles, slowly destroying themselves from within, our country enjoys peace and prosperity. The “Utopia”, that the old writers dreamt of, is being achieved at last. I just wonder what the other countries are doing so wrong. Father soon breaks me out of my reverie. 
“Is that what I think it is?” he asks, indicating the brown envelope. 
“Yes,” I say proudly. “I wonder which school will want me.”
“All of them, I expect. Look how strong your application is, after all.” 
“It doesn’t hurt that I have your name on it, though,” I say slyly. 
“True,” he says, winking at me. “But if your Ambition was not to follow in my footsteps, they would turn you down as any other school would turn down an applicant whose Ambition did not meet with their requirements.”
“There’s something I wanted to ask you related to that,” I say. “You know Lily, my best friend?” 
“Yes?” His tone is careful. He has never met Lily and there’s something about his wariness whenever I mention her that makes me uneasy, like he doesn’t think we should be friends. 
“Do you know if her Tag and her Ambition portfolio got mixed up somehow before she was born?” I ask.
“I don’t know; I wasn’t assigned to her case. You would have to find that out from her hospital. Why?”
“Well, her Ambition is for her to be a waitress, but she’s not suited to that at all.”
“Waitressing is a perfectly good and sturdy profession,” my father says, his tone reprimanding. 
“I know; I’m not being high and mighty. It’s just that, Lily doesn’t seem to enjoy it at all. She seems much more interested in pursuing Academia after Mandatory Education is over. I just wondered whether her original Portfolio was along the lines of some kind of Higher Educator, and the folder got mixed up in the hospital.”
“That’s impossible,” he says, though his dark eyebrows narrow a little over his thick-rimmed black glasses. “Are you sure this isn’t just some Secondary Interest that she is feeling quite strongly about at the moment?”
“I don’t think so,” I say, although my instincts tell me to shut up. “Even in between her work breaks she’s always reading a book of some poet or another. She excels at school – really, she would do much better at my school – and it crushes me to think she can’t do what she really wants.”
“She wants to be a waitress,” my father says quietly. “If her portfolio says so, then that is what her Tag has prepared her for, and that is what she will do. I think you might be seeing more in this situation than there is.”
“But-” I start to argue, about to reveal that I’ve helped her fill in university application, but something in his voice tells me that would be dangerous. His mobile phone rings and he frowns when he sees who is calling him. 
“What is it?” he snaps into the phone. His eyes widen as the speaker on the other end rapidly relays information, though I can’t hear what he is saying. “I’ll come immediately.” He clicks off, his expression a mixture of annoyance and something else. Dismay?
“We’ll talk about this later,” he says quickly as he dons his suit jacket and picks up his briefcase and I assume he means our earlier conversation. “I have to go. I’ll see you for dinner. We’re going out to The Glade tonight.” He kisses my head and leaves. Soon I hear the car rev up and speed away, gravel flying everywhere.
“Sure,” I murmur, wondering what on earth that was about.

Rebecca Finlayson was born in the north of England - specifically Blackburn, Lancashire – but actually spent most of her childhood in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire (fans of Harry Potter will recognise that name!). Inspired by reading a children’s version of “The Odyssey” 20+ times while growing up, she decided to study Classical Civilisation at Warwick University and took a job as a Teaching Assistant upon graduating. After two years she decided to take a year out in order to do some charity work but, more significantly, pursue some writing projects that had been nagging at her for some time. The first of these projects to be completed, a Young Adult Dystopian novel entitled “X&Y” is now on sale on Amazon Kindle. The second – a fantasy novel entitled “The Secrets of Nethiaria: The Magician’s Book” will be out in Spring 2014.

You can find Rebecca Finlayson at http://www.rebeccafinlaysonbooks.blogspot.co.uk or on twitter: @finlaysonauthor.