November 30, 2012

All I Want For Christmas by Liliana Hart

All I Want For Christmas

All I Want For Christmas by Liliana Hart 

Kindle Edition
Two short stories perfect for Christmas as they are romantic and heartwarming. Not suitable for children

Naughty or Nice

Kate Carson is a lawyer whose client from Chicago was getting married and needed a pre-nup. When her flight back to New York was cancelled due to the weather, she is forced to remain in Chicago on Christmas Eve. As she was expected to check out, the hotel management already pre-booked her room and there was no other room available. Until Derek Worth, the sexiest man she had ever seen, stepped into her life. Oh ya, heat passion and lots of sex. Love is the best milieu and you gotta love a HEA ending. I know I do. sigh.

What I liked about it: The lifestyles of the rich and a luxurious penthouse.

A Mackenzie Christmas.

Christmas is for those who have others to share it with which is why large families seem to be ideal.

Grant Mackenzie comes from a large family. He took a chance on his nieces friend, a young girl named Annabeth. It was fate that brought them together. Something sweet.

What I liked about it was life in the small town of Surrender and the 50lb turkey lol.

View all my reviews

Follow Friday

Q: Activity! Who is your to-die-for book crush? What do you think they look like? Add an image to make us all happy.

A: I like Sinjin from H.P. Mallory's Jolie Wilkins series [except the book Sinjin has long dark hair which means he looks even better than this if you can imagine ]. Listen to the song he plays in his cool car for Jolie on their way to the Battlefield . It is so like him haha.

November 29, 2012

2012 BLI Holiday Reading Challenge

The BLI Holiday Reading Challenge
Last year I participated in the Holiday Reading Challenge and I surprised myself by reaching the level of Candy Cane-aholic. It was super fun. This year I am starting at a level of  Santas Helper by reading only 1-3 ebooks. They can be either ebooks, paperbacks, audiobooks, short stories or novellas.

UPDATE: Well I have surprised myself again! As it stands right now I have read 20 kindle short story/novellas which is the most I've ever read in a month lol . I have succeeded the level of Candy Cane-aholic! Only because I want to reach my reading challenge goal of 150 books this year. I admit I love reading christmas romance. They are fun.

I've acquired a selection of free ebooks already since they are free only for a limited time. It's time to get into the Christmas spirit and join the fun .

Ice Gods

Ice Gods Christmas (Paranormal Romance Novella) by Helen Scott Taylor

Genre: Fantasy  Paranormal

Amazon   Goodreads

A trip to Iceland to find her father turns into a nightmare when she is transported to the icy palace of Valhalla and lands in the middle of the Ice Gods family feud. Odin's son has loved and protected her from afar. Now she is in his world, he can finally make her his. 

Blue Christmas; Big Girls Don't Cry Christmas Short Story by Taylor Lee 

Romantic Suspense

Amazon    Goodreads 

Two top undercover agents topple an international illegal arms dealer. Much to the surprise of the two "go it alone" sexy agents, Christmas in Korea is anything but Blue. Snow Angels, cookie dough (and especially the frosting) plus a big dose of Elvis-- makes for a sizzling Christmas. Even Blue Christmases can be Red HOT!

Claus: Legend of the Fat Man Claus: Legend of the Fat Man

by Tony Bertauski

Amazon  Goodreads

Fantasy adventure

Some legends are forged in fire. Others are born in snow.
In the early 1800s, Nicholas, Jessica and Jon Santa attempt the first human trek to the North Pole and stumble upon an ancient race of people left over from the Ice Age. They are short, fat and hairy. They slide across the ice on scaly soles and carve their homes in the ice that floats on the Arctic Ocean. The elven are adapted to life in the extreme cold. They are as wise as they are ancient.
Their scientific advancements have yielded great inventions -- time-stopping devices and gravitational spheres that build living snowmen and genetically-modified reindeer that leap great distances. They’ve even unlocked the secrets to aging. For 40,000 years, they have lived in peace.
Until now.
An elven known as The Cold One has divided his people. He’s tired of their seclusion and wants to conquer the world. Only one elven stands between The Cold One and total chaos. He’s white-bearded and red-coated. The Santa family will help him stop The Cold One.
They will come to the aid of a legendary elven known as… Claus.

November 28, 2012

Top 10 Better Book Titles

Click the image to visit site 
I found these satirical book titles awhile ago and thought they were pretty funny . I haven't had the courage to post them until now . I hope you enjoy them for what they are and if it doesn't offend then kudos. What will be really cool is if you can guess their real book titles or visit Better Book Titles for more. Like for example: What is a better book title for Catcher in the Rye? A diary of a wimpy kid . Lol!

About Better Book Titles:

“This blog is for people who do not have thousands of hours to read book reviews or blurbs or first sentences. I will cut through all the cryptic crap, and give you the meat of the story in one condensed image. Now you can read the greatest literary works of all time in mere seconds!
--- 1 ---
--- 2 ---
--- 3 ---
--- 4 ---
--- 5 ---
--- 6 ---
--- 7 ---
--- 8 ---
--- 9 ---
--- 10 ---

November 27, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday

Designed by Giselle@booknerd

The Midnight Spell 

Author:  Rhiannon Frater, Kody Boye
Expected publication: February 2013
Genre: YA Fantasy Paranormal

Best friends since kindergarten, Adam and Christy have always been the perpetual outsiders in their small town in Texas. The other kids call Adam gay and Christy a witch.
On both counts the bullies are right.
Their junior year in high school seems destined to be the same old same old until Christy decides to cast a love spell for Adam at the midnight hour. The next day an alluring and mysterious boy enrolls at school and sets hearts a flutter, including Adam’s. Meanwhile, Christy’s mad crush on the handsome football player Ian seems to be going nowhere fast and her witch puberty is making her life miserable. 
When a great evil arrives in town that threatens everything they hold dear, the best friends realize that finding a boyfriend is the least of their worries. Soon Adam and Christy will have to battle a force of darkness that has killed in their town before, and will again.


I am super desperate about this one. I know it's a bit premature but if you are a Rhiannon Frater fan , it should be on your TBR list. I know I can't wait. Desperatly Wanting Wednesday, hosted by Parajunkee's View

Pretty When They Collide Novella

Author: Rhiannon Frater

Genre: Horror & Supernatural

Release Date: unknown but sometime around February 21, 2013? hopefully

The tale of how Cass the dhamphir and Aimee the witch first meet and end up fighting their first big bad together.

November 25, 2012

Pure Covenant #2

Pure (Covenant, #2)

Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

There is need. And then there is Fate Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her. When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude or killing her. When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

Wow! Pure left me abuzz with excitement. I loved it!
View all my reviews

Deity Covenant #3

Deity (Covenant, #3)

Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Goodreads Summary:

"History is on repeat, and things didn't go so well the last time. "

Alexandria isn't sure she's going to make it to her eighteenth birthday--to her Awakening. A long-forgotten, fanatical order is out to kill her, and if the Council ever discovers what she did in the Catskills, she's a goner... and so is Aiden.
 If that's not freaky enough, whenever Alex and Seth spend time "training"--which really is just Seth's code word for some up-close and personal one-on-one time--she ends up with another mark of the Apollyon, which brings her one step closer to Awakening ahead of schedule. Awesome.
 But as her birthday draws near, her entire world shatters with a startling revelation and she's caught between love and Fate. One will do anything to protect her. One has been lying to her since the beginning. Once the gods have revealed themselves, unleashing their wrath, lives will be irrevocably changed... and destroyed.

Those left standing will discover if love is truly greater than Fate...

It is about the gods [Apollyon, Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Artemis and Dionysus - the god of wine and nonstop partying.
Ananke - the mother of the Fates and of destiny, she rules over compulsion and all forms of slavery and bondage. The ability to use compulsion is gifted from Ananke, she was also the one to come up with the Elixir that keeps halfs in servitude docile etc,. They rule the Hematois-purebloods and halfbloods.

Aiden is a pure. Alexa is the future second Apollyon but is a halfblood and is in love with Aiden. Seth is the first Apollyon.
Alexa's mother, once was a Pure but turned Daimon, and who is now dead , she had loved a halfblood, who up to this point, we never get to meet, but apparently is still alive, because it was forbidden that these two [breeds] should ever love each other. Half bloods were considered lesser than pures and they either ended up as the Pures servants or became Sentinels aka fighter/warriors.

The Covenant of the gods includes Marcus, Alexa's Uncle, Lucian, her stepfather, and other ministers. They currently serve the greater gods like Apollyon etc... omgd's this is complicated ain't it?

View all my reviews

Elixir Covenant #3.5

Elixir (Covenant, #3.5)

Elixir by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary: 

Aiden's novella
Aiden St. Delphi will do anything to save Alex.
Even if it means doing the one thing he will never forgive himself for. Even if it means making war against the gods. 

Alexa is the second Apollyon and she has awakened and has totally lost herself. Neither is Seth himself. What a buncha loonatics! I could hardly call them awesome. Awesome people don't do bad things .

Instead of wasting so much time fighting Alexa down in the basement stuck in a cage Aiden should've known what to do right from the start. gosh. I thought by giving Alexa the Elixir was harmless . No harm no foul, BUT if he really loved her how could he have kept her locked in a cage for so long? That was unacceptable! I believe Aiden realized that Alexa's love for him was a lot stronger than Seth's bonds.

View all my reviews

November 24, 2012

Exiled: An Epic Fantasy Adventure

Exiled by M.R. Merrick

Kindle Edition

M.R. Merrick has made a fan out of me! I not only found out he is a Canadian author but that he lives in Red Deer, Alberta, next door to me in Calgary!  Knowing that, I was so thrilled I HAD to read this series.

Exiled is a book full of awesome sauce! I loved it! and I couldn't have been more pleased. When I found out it was being offered free on kindle that is when I jumped at the chance. I'm glad I waited.

Chase Williams is a young demon hunter who was found not having the elemental magic every other hunter possessed and had been forced to live outside of the Circle [Exiled] along with his mother for being insubordinate. When he meets up with a half breed demon [Rayna] and a fairly well known Hunter [Marcus], they offer their help and protection.

Knowing some of his fellow Hunters are kidnapping demons Chase wants to know who and what the Hunters want. He is confused and forced to reconsider everything he's ever learned about demons and the Hunter Circle. It's as if the people he always trusted are now the bad ones, and the demons he thought were bad aren't. Two of his friends are demons now [Rayna and Willy] and it isn't black and white anymore.

Vampires, goblins, trolls and shapeshifters, including an unusual little bird named Rai, take us on a wild adventure ride. This bird helps Chase and Tiki and it's my favorite part of the book. What I didn't like is in what world did Chase come from and/or do the Hunters live in? Was it another dimension through a portal? Why were the 'underworlders'--mostly demons and vampires-- living in the real world? Wouldn't that be a little dangerous for the rest of the world? I mean this isn't the mortal instruments. Other than that, I thought this book was well-written and anyone with a love of paranormal fantasy would love this book and I highly recommend it. I know I can't wait for book 2 .

November 22, 2012

Tour Stop: All I Want For Christmas Is You

All I Want for Christmas is You by Lisa Mondello

Fate with a Helping Hand 
Book One

Genre: Contemporary Romance
ASIN:  B005KDG236
Number of pages: 192
Word Count: 40,000

Amazon   Barnesand Noble  iTunes  Smashwords

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Winter Evening - Acrylic Painting by snc145 - Copy Of Currier & Ives' Painting - Photo by snc145
this is how I picture Kyle and Lauren's new house
I loved it but Lauren's apathy towards men was getting a little old and I wanted to knock some sense into her for being so hard, selfish and incredulous towards a love like Kyles. Kyle Preston was one hell of a guy and if Lauren was too stubborn to see that , then she didn't deserve him but fortunately for her , his persistence and hard work pays off when he plans to fulfill Kristen's desire of wanting a daddy for her mommy .

Kyle Preston had money, charm and persuasion. He dreamed of a beautiful woman to keep him warm at night and a family of his own . He owned real estate and played Santa at his own shopping mall . It wasn't always easy for Kyle growing up but his adoptive family changed him for the better.

Lauren had to learn to trust that he would never walk out on her. She also had to get over her family abandoning her.


"You don't have to be afraid. This will explain it all. I promise you." He smiled warmly and Lauren wanted to trust him if only to believe in simple kindness. 

With shaking hands, she took the piece of paper, warm from being in the pocket close to Kyle's body. She held it up straight so that she could see Kyle while reading the words on the paper.

"Dear Santa..." she read out loud, then read the next part silently. "Oh, no," she groaned. 

"I know. That's just how I felt."

Lauren shot him a skeptical glance. "How did you get this?"

"Kristen gave it to me."

"That's impossible. Mrs. Hopkins just helped her with it this afternoon and-"

"And she gave it to me in the Mall," Kyle finished for her.

She looked at him quizzically, still trying to comprehend the course of events leading up to his seizure of her daughter's precious note
"It's not that hard to figure out, Lauren," Kyle said warmly.

His dark eyes gleamed with the light from the lamppost. He wore no hat to protect his head from the falling snow. Now his hair was filled with powdered flakes, matting it down.

His grin was bright and wide as he informed her, "I'm Santa Claus." 


Dear Santa, Plez send me a daddy for Christmas so Mommy doesn't have to work so much.
Fate with a Helping Hand Series includes: 

About the Author:

Lisa Mondello (a.k.a. LA Mondello) has held many jobs in her life but being a published authors is the last job she'll ever have. She's not retiring! She blames the creation of the personal computer for her leap into writing novels. Otherwise, she'd still be penning stories with paper and pen.  Her first book, All I Want for Christmas is You, was the winner of the Golden Quill contest for Best First Book and to date has had over 400,000 downloads worldwide. She is currently the author of 14 novels under the name Lisa Mondello and LA Mondello.

You can find more information about Lisa Mondello at    

Brought to You by Bewitching Book Tours

November 20, 2012

Storm Front: Where's The Bobbie Harry?

Storm Front The Dresden Files Series, Book 1 

Excerpt MP3

Author: Jim Butcher

Narrated by James Marsters 

Format: WMA Audiobook
Duration: 8 hours, 2 minutes
Release date: Feb 10, 2009
Publisher: Buzzy Multimedia
Genre: Fiction Horror Mystery Science Fiction & Fantasy 


My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. I'm a wizard. I work out of an office in midtown Chicago. As far as I know, I'm the only openly practicing professional wizard in the country. You can find me in the yellow pages, under Wizards. Believe it or not, I'm the only one there. With rent past due and a decent meal becoming an issue of some importance, Harry needs work, and soon. A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt. Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse.
Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters to vampires, while he himself is under suspicion of the crimes. One thing is certain, if he can't stop whoever is on this killing spree, Harry will be the next victim. 

My Rating:

It's sort of like Jo Nesbos Harry Hole Private Investigator series but this Harry is a paranormal wizard. Way better. I liked the narrators voice . He really knows how to bring out Harry's character with a calm and soothing tone. Harry Dresden never uses his powers to kill but helps police solve murder cases. He's not that much of a fighter in spite of one being accused of murder by the White Court{?} and the Police, however his persistence and magic pays off when he finds out who is responsible for the grisly murders and breaking all the rules.

Check out Shelleyrae's review 

November 17, 2012

Book Blitz: Miss Fortune Cookie

Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman

Expected publication: November 13th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.

Meet Erin. Smart student, great daughter, better friend. Secretly the mastermind behind the popular advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie. Totally unaware that her carefully constructed life is about to get crazy.
It all begins when her ex-best friend sends a letter to her blog—and then acts on her advice. Erin’s efforts to undo the mess will plunge her into adventure, minor felonies, and possibly her very first romance.
What’s a likely fortune for someone no longer completely in control of her fate? Hopefully nothing like: You will become a crispy noodle in the salad of life.

To enter for a chance to win a copy please visit Jelly Loves Books .

A peek at the first Chapter.


My friends and I were riding home from school on Muni, clinging to an assortment of slippery handholds, when Linny almost blew my secret identity. Intentionally.
“Listen to this one,” she said, reading off her iPhone, a faint but smirky glint in her eyes. “‘Dear Miss Fortune Cookie. My cousin thinks I’m chasing her boyfriend. Her boyfriend and I never flirt, but sometimes we text. What can I do to make her believe me? Just Friends.’”
In fact, I—Erin Kavanagh, alias Miss Fortune Cookie—had posted this very letter on my anonymous advice blog, and Linny happened to be the only person in San Francisco to know that, the only person in the whole world, except for some random administrator at WordPress. She takes every opportunity to harass me about keeping my blog a secret. “What advice would you give, Erin?” she asked, winking this time.
I kept my face as neutral as possible. Luckily Darren and Mei were only paying attention each other. As usual.
Personally speaking, I think nano-deceptions are a good thing. I regularly use them to protect my friends from unpleasant truths. Should I tell Linny that her favorite knit hat makes her head look like a furry meatball? Or nudge Mei whenever Darren winces at her hyena laugh? Should I have cautioned Darren that taking AP physics would wreck his grade-point average? Absolutely not. Sincere lies keep everyone happy.
I blew the hair out of my eyes. “The cousin will never stop suspecting the two of them,” I said to Linny, “so Just Friends has to stop the texting. She could get her own boyfriend. Or move to somewhere far away like Moldavia.”
Muni, a sort of bus powered by electric wires overhead, jerked to a halt. A seat opened up, and Linny took it. “Exactly!” She had the happiest smile ever, so big it barely fit on her face. Metaphorically speaking. “Mei, don’t you think Erin is a natural at giving advice?”
“Hmm?” Mei said. She was somewhat entwined with Darren and therefore distracted.
“Nothing.” I jabbed Linny in the ribs to get her to stop talking. Gently of course. The three of us—Mei,
Linny, and me—made an enviable friendship trio. I was the lesser third, maybe because Mei and Linny were gorgeously Chinese-American, while I was just Boring-American. A Person of Irish.
Mei knew nothing about my connection to Miss Fortune Cookie. We used to be best friends, and by best friends I mean we spent every afternoon and weekend together until eighth grade, when things fell apart between us. The truth is, Mei dumped me. Then Linny brought us together again during freshman year, inviting us both to eat lunch with her, forming a little group. A few months later, I mustered the courage to bring up the dumping incident with Mei, except she didn’t want to talk about it. So we became friends again without dealing with the past. Pretty much.
Except I didn’t trust her like I used to.
And she didn’t share as many intimate details about herself with me.
Linny beckoned me closer to whisper in my ear. “I have a question for Miss Fortune Cookie. A very personal one. But you can’t tell Mei.”
“Why not?”
She lowered her voice more. “You just can’t, ’kay?”
I nodded. Linny usually let both of us in on every detail about her life, although lately she’d been secretive about her new boyfriend. Whatever it was, it wouldn’t be boring. I turned my back toward Mei and said in my quietest voice, “Go ahead. I’m listening. What is it?”
Linny shook her head. “Not now.”
Just then, the Muni driver made the sharp turn into Chinatown, and three things happened almost simultaneously: a bicyclist veered into the road, the driver slammed on the brakes, and I fell into another passenger. We came to a halt fifty feet from the stop, and the bicyclist escaped unscathed. I could tell by the vigorous way he flipped off the driver. Then I caught sight of Mrs. Liu, bundled against the fog, among the passengers waiting to board.
“Your mom!” I whispered to Mei. “She’s getting on!”
Mei’s eyes widened. “What the what?”
Which demonstrates a problem with sincere lies—in this case, Mei’s lie to her mom about not having a boyfriend. They can be found out. Darren dropped his arm from around Mei’s waist and grabbed his backpack. “Bye,” he mouthed before zipping to the back and catapulting out the rear door. He’s considerate like that.
Mrs. Liu’s grocery bags thumped against the handrail as she marched up the steps. She has sharp, high cheekbones and is tall like her daughter. She and Mei both have blunt-cut hair that reaches their shoulders. Our favorite salon in Chinatown sometimes offers two-for-one specials.
Mei hurried to the front to take the two largest bags. “Ma, let me.”
Mrs. Liu stretched her swan neck toward the window. “Who is that with you?”
Mei shook her head nervously. “No one. Just Erin and Linny. I invited them to help with the turnip cakes.”
“No. I see boy before.” Mrs. Liu believed with every sinew in her heart that a boyfriend would distract Mei from her schoolwork, ruining her chances of getting into the number one university in the country, Harvard. So when Mei fell in love with Darren last spring, she kept it a secret from her mom. For thirteen whole months. Which showed amazing ingenuity and skill on her part, but once you start a lie, it’s hard to escape it.
“Who is boy?”
“Oh, him,” Mei said. “Someone from AP chem. We were discussing the homework. Chemical reactions.”
She blinked fast. “And stuff like that.”
To be fair, most people have trouble lying to Mrs. Liu. Her eyes bore right through your skull and read your thoughts as if you accidentally uploaded them onto Facebook. It’s her superpower.
Linny stood up to offer her seat to Mrs. Liu. “Mr. F assigned loads of homework over the weekend. He wants us in top shape for the AP test.”
Mrs. Liu ignored the seat. She had just turned forty and didn’t appreciate the senior-citizen treatment. “Very good. Homework make you smart.”
“Ma, please sit down. Ni shi lao.” That means you are the elder, a show of respect. It also means you are old.
“I am comfortable,” Mrs. Liu said.
Mei continued arguing politely. Though most Chinese immigrants to San Francisco speak Cantonese, a dialect common in the south of China, Mrs. Liu emigrated from the north, where they speak Mandarin. I was fluent enough to follow their conversation.
“Ma, ni zuo.” Ma, just sit.
“Gaosu wo ta de mingzi.” Tell me his name.
Before they resolved anything, the driver pulled into the stop by Mrs. Liu’s restaurant, and we all got off. Hay Fat occupies a prominent street corner in Chinatown. Mrs. Liu’s heightened culinary sensibility has turned it into a legend, luring in the more adventurous tourists and fussy locals. She serves authentic dishes with ingredients such as fermented bean paste, whole fish with eyeballs intact, and lotus. Her menu also includes beef broccoli in case people with less sophisticated palates wander in by mistake.
We entered the kitchen through the alley. The dinner rush had yet to begin, which meant we had the place to ourselves. After setting me up with the grater and Mei with the bacon to steam, Mrs. Liu tossed a handful of sesame seeds into sizzling oil at the bottom of the wok. I closed my eyes to better appreciate the scrumptious smell.
“What should I do?” Linny asked. I looked at her appraisingly, wondering about her secret. Not that we could talk here in the kitchen.
Mrs. Liu handed her a bowl. “Cut mushrooms. Very small pieces.”
I consider Hay Fat my second home. Mom and Mrs. Liu met when Mei and I were in preschool and have been good friends ever since. We live one floor below them in an apartment a few blocks from here in a quieter part of Chinatown. Mrs. Liu has always welcomed me into her kitchen, even during that black year when Mei and I barely spoke.
What I know of her life before America comes through Mom. Twenty-three years ago, Mrs. Liu studied cooking at a special school in China that trains workers for American restaurants. After finishing the program, she immigrated to San Francisco, where she met Mei’s dad. He soon left her, and she has remained single ever since. Which could explain some of her gruffness.
“No lollygagging,” Mrs. Liu said. The cloth she wore over her hair fell askew, and my fingers itched to straighten it. I didn’t stop grating for a second, though, because sometimes when I slack off from a job she’s given me, she’ll pinch my arm. Not hard, but still.
Linny held out her cutting board for inspection. “Are these pieces small enough?”
Mrs. Liu took the board and tossed the mushrooms into the wok. “Almost. Watch. This is secret part. Very important. Not in recipe.”
Smoke rose from the hot metal. While Mrs. Liu stirred up a storm, I took the chance to rest my aching muscles. As I was standing there, I noticed that the photographs hanging over the sink had been dusted recently. One showed four-year-old Mei holding a pen and scroll, a minischolar. Next to it hung a picture of me dressed as a sunflower for our preschool play.
The turnip cakes were for a party next week, an event to celebrate Mei’s acceptance into Harvard. Mrs. Liu had planned it out a long time ago. I think she decided on which dishes to serve before Mei started high school. Last July, she bought boxes of scarlet and black decorations. She mailed the invitations a month ago. Harvard’s acceptance emails, though, wouldn’t go out until tomorrow, April 1, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Now Mei just had to get in.
The three of us attend Lowell, a high school for academic types—nerds in the best sense—a rare public school that students compete to get into. At Lowell, we have a popular crowd, hipsters, and partiers like everywhere else, but we worry more about SAT percentiles and college choices than our counterparts. For us, the first of April is bigger than the Academy Awards. Tomorrow, hopes would be mangled and dreams decapitated.
Mrs. Liu spun around to face Mei. “Meihua! That boy on bus. Shi bu shi boyfriend?”
Meihua blinked. “He’s not, Ma.”
Linny and I exchanged glances.
full denial = a lie of omission × 10 3
Mei’s sincere lie had gone bad, turned slimy and evil smelling like leftovers jammed to the back of the fridge behind the sauce jars.
“The stove!” Linny yelled.
Flames shot upward. Mrs. Liu calmly fetched a small broom and beat out the fire in three precise strokes. She’s efficient like that. “You are young. You cannot know love.”
Except Romeo and Juliet were young, and though Darren had not declared his devotion publicly from the alley or climbed a trellis to the window leading to Mei’s bedchamber, Romeo had nothing on him when it came to passion. I’d seen more of that than I cared to, in fact.
Mei laid the steamed bacon on a clean bamboo chopping block and commenced mincing it into molecule-sized bits. Mrs. Liu waved her spatula. “Harvard most important thing. Future more valuable than useless boy. You tell me, Erin. Who is boy?”
My hand flew across the grater, and the mound of turnips grew. “The boy on Muni?”
Mrs. Liu growled with exasperation. “The Master say give elder no reason for anxiety.”
Mei ducked her head. “You’re right, Ma.”
“I am not right,” Mrs. Liu barked. “The Master is right.” By the Master, she meant Confucius, the spiritual grandfather of China, born more than five hundred years before Jesus. Arguing against the Master would be futile. The main dinner chef arrived, and Mrs. Liu dismissed us. “Skedaddle. Do homework. Good-bye.”
Grateful for the reprieve, I slipped out of my apron. Mei planted her feet by the stove and lifted her chin. She looked exactly like she used to long ago when we shoved cooked rice and fruit under the stove to feed the hungry ghost that lived there: scared but determined. She turned to Linny and me. “I’m staying to help Ma. Wait for me.”
Which meant Linny and I would get a little time alone and she could finally tell me what she started to say on Muni.

Author Bio:

I am the author of two YA novels, MY INVENTED LIFE and MISS FORTUNE COOKIE. I also contributed a short story to the anthology THE FIRST TIME. Though I grew up on a sail boat and loved traveling the world as a kid, I'm still afraid of the ocean. I much prefer other modes of transportation these days--plane, train, or car. Walking is best. I love books with multi-faceted, intriguing characters. The best one make me laugh, cry, and turn the pages long past my bed time. When I'm not reading or writing, I spend time with family and friends, talking about everything under the sun. Add in some good food to the mix, top it off with chocolate, and I'm truly happy.

Author Links:

Twitter | Facebook | Here | Website | Wordpress | Pinterest | Buy on Amazon

BB Book Tours