Tag Archives: #bookish

Book Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley 

Published in 2016

Pages: 352

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

Love lives between the lines.

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came. 
Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough. 


My thoughts:

I was given a selection of books to review for work and told to pick one. Instantly, the cover to this book jumped out at me and I was instantly moved by the blurb on the back, so I chose this. 

I started it the next day and was instantly in  awe. The layout was and is absolutely beautiful, the writing captivating. It jumps between Henry and Rachel’s perspectives, as well as letters which are found in various books in the bookstore. The setting to this book was perfection, the bookstore and the stories inside held so much symbolism for the plot, what had happened, what was to come, and what the characters had gone through. 

Both Henry and Rachel went through their own angst through the story, and from the narrative the reader definitely got a tragic feel and I felt so sad for Rachel throughout, she was missing her brother greatly and his death impacted her so much, she had definitely changed, Henry hadn’t heard from her in some time, but when their paths cross, he knows how absent she is, there’s very little of the Rachel that was his best friend and she doesn’t tell anyone about her brother, she hardly talks to him.

I feel this book was definitely about both characters’ journies, but there were some great side characters that featured in this book too. Henry’s family, especially, they all had their things to deal with, and there was definitely a great amount of mystery as George (Henry’s sister) tried to figure out who was writing the secret letters under the mysterious pen name. I honestly didn’t know who it could’ve been but there was a tiny clue offered to the reader, and it clicked and the tragic irony was unlike anything I’d read in a YA contemporary fiction book before. 

There were so many bookish moments a book lover can appreciate, whether it’s the letters being shown that are found in the Howling Library section, and from what books and pages they were from, to the open book discussions that were in this book. Henry’s family had regular book group meetings and I thought that was so sweet. 

Definitely a book that will stay with me for some time, it had lots of light moments too, it washonestly a unique, precious read, and I recommend it to all! 

And that concludes my review, until next time, happy reading 🙂

Brooklyn.

Book Review: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J Maas

The first short story in the novella “The Assassin’s Blade”, a prequel novella to the Throne of Glass series. 

Pages: 77

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

A Throne of Glass novella.

On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes—and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about.

My thoughts:

For me, this was the start of something amazing. I love the Throne of Glass books, and Celaena and Sam are two of my favourite characters, ever. I have read this novella 3 times (I think, maybe 4), and I never tire of Sam and Celaena’s scenes. Their banter is the stuff of life, even though I know what happens in the last novella, I still think Sam is her equal in every way. 

It’s funny, re reading a first novella after reading all other books in this series (I’m re reading them in anticipation for Tower of Dawn, I can’t believe it’s less than a month away!) and knowing what happens in each book. 

One of my favourite things in this book, aside from Sam and Celaena’s scenes, is the dramatic irony of Celaena freeing the slaves that Arobbyn (I loathe him) sent her and Sam to deal with. The co-conspirator in this slave game is one Pirate Lord, Rolfe (where we get the title). I never actually cared for Rolfe to be honest, I found him a callous, arrogant guy, and even though I enjoy pirate type stories (and I guess Rolfe is a bit above your typical pirate), I didn’t like his selfishness in regards to the slaves. 

What I did love also was Celaena’s sass and bravery! She’s 16 and an assassin who literally, even though she and Sam kill people for a living, (slight spoiler ahead) she chooses not to agree with the slave bargain and does her darndest to fight for their freedom. There’s lots of wit in her narration, I love the audacity of everything in this novella, and that there’s definitely early hints of her chemistry with Sam.

Definitely one of my favourite novellas in this collection, and I’m excited to read the rest once more. 

And that concludes my review, until next time, happy reading.

Brooklyn. 🙂

SIX PACK: EMERGENCE — BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY

 SIX PACK: EMERGENCE — BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY

What if society was controlled by a drink, but there was another drink that might allow one to change the way things were? This is the question faced by Tyler Ward and his five friends in the new book Six Pack: Emergence.

 Tyler is set to graduate from secondary school when he learns the truth about the nation of Novusordo and how the government controls the population through a drink. He and his five friends visit a professor’s house, consume another drink and gain strange powers. Now they find themselves part of a movement against the government and must learn to control their powers and how they might change society. But can they trust the movement… or even each other?

Six Pack: Emergence, a young adult, science fiction, dystopian novel is written by B.W. Morris, a longtime writer for small-town newspapers, though it took him a while to embrace his inner comic book geek and put his overactive imagination to work through novel writing. The novel, published by Clean Reads, is Morris’ debut work, the first in a planned trilogy.

To celebrate the month of his birthday, Morris is giving away a free ebook of his debut novel. You must enter the giveaway at Amazon by Aug. 16 and may do so by following this link: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/1f12261980c92216#ts-afo

Morris may be reached via email at bwmorris@mail.com or to learn more about his work, visit his blog at relaxingwithsixpack.blogspot.com.

Book Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare


Book 1 in the Infernal Devices series

A Shadowhunters Novel

Published: 2010

Pages: 480

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them.
My thoughts:

Definitely my favourite Cassandra Clare book so far! Which is amazing because I didn’t think anything could top the adrenaline pumping ride that was the first 3 books in The Mortal Instruments, and while I love that series and even missed some of the characters, I fell in love with these characters! Tessa is honestly so relatable in her bookishness, and I love how fierce she is! She really steps into Victorian London and is faced with all sorts of action right away! I instantly felt for her and was excited to accompany her on her journey! 

Will and Jem are so precious! Will, albeit kind of elusive at times, he was such a curious character. There were times when he was such a puzzle, open but closed at the same time but from their first meeting I loved how Tessa and he were pretty much outsassing one another, their interactions were such a delight! Jem is probably my favourite character though, he’s such a (Wait for the pun) gem! (Yes, I went there). No but in all earnest he is so precious and my heart was feeling for him all the way through, and I had lots of questions about his character and definitely found his character background very feely. And Will’s too, and Tessa’s, I think it was her back story that really set the course for the novel, there was instant mystery surrounding the whereabouts of her brother and really from there things were never going to be the same. 

I loved all the supporting characters, well all of the Shadowhunters and Sophie. Charlotte Branwell (named after Charlotte and Branwell Bronte, speaking of which Cassie Clare gives us an amazing introduction here to her reasoning behind said character) and I thought Sophie was such a dear, her character definitely grew throughout the book and she had some adorable moments, I’m looking forward to more of her in the other books. I liked Jessamine enough, she didn’t want to be where she was, but she gave us reasoning for that and she’s really well and truly Victorian at heart. 

Which brings me to the setting! I love Victorian London, it’s one of my favourite eras to read about, and Clare portrays it so vividly! I felt like I was there throughout this book, and I was constantly engaged. Though some of the chapters stretched out, I enjoyed that because we got a real feel for the world! I loved knowing bits and pieces about the Shadowhunter world, and I enjoyed the parallels of Tessa being introduced to it as per Clary being introduced to it! And when there was one character that came into this book, from The Mortal Instruments, I was so happy! 

I love the notion of automatons and shape shifters too, so it was great to see them incorporated into the story! I love what Cassandra Clare has done with everything and everyone in this book! It’s perfection! Definitely an instant favourite! 

And I’ll leave it there but gosh this book is just every bit as magical as I thought it would be! I can’t wait to read more! 

Until next time,

Happy reading,

Brooklyn. 

July Reading Wrap Up

Hey bookish people,

I feel rather spoilt this month, for most of my reads were actually 5 star books! So I’m not sure if I should feel unnerved by this or relieved, but truth be told I’m pretty happy about where I am with my reading at the moment! 

I read 8 books this month, the titles and ratings will follow:

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – 5 stars

After Dark by Haruki Murakami – 4 stars

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng – 5 stars

1Q84 Book 1 by Haruki Murakami- 5 stars

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare – 5 stars

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz – 5 stars

The Clocks by Agatha Christie – 5 stars

So that’s my reading wrap up for July! I can hardly believe we’re into August already! What books have you been reading this month? Any highlights? 

See you soon! Happy reading, 

Brooklyn 🙂

Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Published: 2014

Book 1 in The To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series

Pages: 355

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My thoughts:

This was honestly such a fabulous read, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I did, but I found the characters and the writing addictive! 

Lara Jean Song is one of my favourite characters, ever. She’s so relatable, with her eager to please nature and she prefers to stay in and read, as we learn when she’s forced along on a skiing trip. 

I love the relationship the three Song girls have, Kitty, Margot and Lara Jean all balanced out so nicely together and you can tell throughout the book how much each one cares about the other, even though when Margot is slightly distant when she comes back from studying abroad. This here for me raised a lot of questions, I wondered what she had been up to and what she’d think about what had happened when she returned. 

Lots definitely happened in this book, there was plenty to keep me interested and I found the scenes with Lara Jean and Kitty so funny! It was great how Kitty, even though she was the youngest sister, she had so much attitude and she interacted so well with Peter and of course Josh.

Josh, is the Song girls’ closest friend, is a character that I enjoyed all the way through, though I liked Peter, there were some scenes where I thought he was a bit immature: but then he did help Lara Jean a lot in terms of stepping out of her comfort zone, even if it didn’t go according to plan. 

I definitely think this book is more character orientated than plot, each character interacted really well with one another, and the book was definitely filled with equally amusing and emotional scenes. One of the many things I liked about this book is how Jenny Han is able to immediately get the reader to connect with her characters, and also how each chapter, being so short yet rather impactful, flowed and made the reader not want to put the book down.

Definitely the start of a special series, I think! Can’t wait to read books 2 and 3 and see what’s in store for these characters! 

And that concludes my review. Thanks for reading. Until next time, happy reading, Brooklyn 😊

Author Interview: Hugh Fraser


Hi all, Brooklyn here and I’m excited to bring you a recent interview I conducted with the writer, composer, actor and all round dapper fellow, Hugh Fraser! This was particularly exciting for me seen as I loved and still love watching him bring Captain Hastings from Poirot to life, but as of late he’s recently published some crime books of his own! I say, Harm is a ripper of a read (I must read its successors) and I’m definitely excited to see what comes next for Hugh! 

You can find the interview below (Hugh’s answers appear in italics).

1. What inspired you to write Harm, Threat & Malice? And what was the inspiration behind your lead character, Rina Walker?

I wrote a couple of plays and a radio series years ago, and when I decided to attempt to write a book I though I’d try a crime novel because I’ve always enjoyed the genre myself.

I’ve always collected the black and white photographs of Bert Hardy and Roger Mayne, who documented the street life in the deprived areas of the inner cities during the post war period and I think my idea for Rina came from those street scenes and the Teddy boys and girls who appeared in them.

2. Do you have a specific time of day or routine that you follow either during or before you write?

I write from 9am to 1pm with a coffee break at 11am. (That’s the theory anyway).

3. You brought audiences so much joy bringing Agatha Christie’s Captain Hastings to life, what are some of your favourite memories from playing the role?

Filming the Poirot series was a great time. I really enjoyed going to the Art Deco houses, usually beautifully preserved by their owners, as well as the foreign locations. It was also a joy to work with so many guest actors and be in a series that attracted a following so quickly.

4. Do you have a personal favourite or favourites of Dame Agatha Christie’s books? (Spoiler ahead)

Curtain is my favourite because of the intricate plot construction and the moving way she depicts the death of Poirot.

5. What are some of your own favourite authors and books?

My favourite author is Martin Amis. He’s a genius with language and his characters leap off the page. My favourite books of his are: Money, The Information and Yellow Dog. I also like Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy, of the American school of crime writers, and John Updike and Ian McEwan too.

6. You’ve read many Agatha Christie mysteries as audiobooks, and I’ve found you read each character really well; is there a process you follow to get into each character?

Not really, Agatha Christie could create a rounded and believable character in a couple of lines, which is a great part of her talent, and I found that I could ‘hear’ the characters quite easily through her writing.

7.  If you could offer any piece of advice to any aspiring author, what would you say?

I’d say go for a genre that you enjoy reading yourself and just sit down and have a go.

Thank you Hugh, it’s been a pleasure. 

You can follow Hugh on Twitter @realHughFraser




Book Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare 


Book 3 in the Mortal Instruments series

Published: 2009

Pages: 492

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?
Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of the New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.
My thoughts:

Once again I’m amazed with the characters and the plot of this bookworld! Cassandra Clare has well and truly cemented her place as one of my all time favourite authors and the Shadowhunter world is one of my favourite fandoms! 

This book was definitely my favourite of the series! The intensity, actions and feels were just so many steps above the rest! From the first page I was hooked, and I was loving every moment! I instantly knew this book would be thegame changer of the series, we met some new characters and I knew they’d defence set the foundation of what was to come in the book. 

And what was to come?

Pain. Fear. Anticipation. Feels. 

Oh my gosh the feels. This book was full of angst as far as Jace and Clary are concerned but oh gosh it was exquisite. And there were some super feely Malec moments too! 

Shipping feelings aside, there was one scene in this book, a characters’ death, that had my heart in pieces. Now a fair bit of this was anticipation and agony, we don’t actually read about said death, but I wondered what had happened and it was heartbreaking to find out. 

Clare’s characters ALL feel so real, they leap off the page, in fact, the reader is transported into this bookworld. It just develops so much and it’s amazing learning more about the world of the Shadowhunters and everything to do with it! 

This book and its characters made me feel so many emotions! It was just perfection all the way through and there were times throughout when I was internally shrieking in both anger and happiness throughout various scenes. Throughout this book I was kept on the edge of my seat, I had no idea what would come next but I couldn’t wait to find out! 

And that concludes my review, thank you for reading, until next time, happy reading 🙂

Brooklyn.

Book Review: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan


Book 3 of the Heroes of Olympus 

Pages: 574

Published: 2012

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

Annabeth returns in the third installment of the biggest series yet from Rick Riordan, author of the #1 New York Times best-selling Heroes of Olympus, Kane Chronicles, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Half-blood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six—who will complete the Prophecy of Seven?

The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land—Greece itself—to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophecy remains a mystery…

With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.

My thoughts:

Firstly. Let’s start at the end:

How do I explain that??? Like honestly, my feelings are a wreck right now! I didn’t expect that! Utterly beautifully brilliant! Wicked! Insane! Chilling!


Annabeth definitely had a few burdens to carry in this novel! The title suggests she would play a major role, and that’s true! I for one was definitely happy to see her back! She’s my favourite character in the Percy Jackson series and I was excited to read chapters from her perspective! I didn’t know what to expect from this, only that the prophecy, “wisdoms’ daughter walks alone, the Mark of Athena burns through Rome” would be coming to fruition. Reading Annabeth’s chapters gave me an insight into how that prophecy came to light, reading about her flashbacks to her ‘fight’ with Athena, her godly mother, was proper insane! And having Annabeth with Percy once again pretty much cemented my shipper heart in happiness! I love them together and while I adored seeing previous relationships with characters come to light, there’s just something so special about Percy and Annabeth together!! 
This book is also narrated by Percy himself, Leo and Piper. Each character narrations were mostly presented in three chapter per characters, which once again was brilliant because it allowed the reader to see and feel how the characters do, after all this time. 

Which brings me to the point, each character has matured so much across these books! It’s been amazing because I feel like I have been there right as each character goes through everything! 

I love how the friendships grew and developed even more in this book! Leo, Jason, Percy, Frank, Hazel, Piper and of course Annabeth are essentially squad goals and they’re all on my favourite character list! Each character is freaking amazing and had some wild and epic scenes in this book, but I must take a moment to appreciate Leo and those fabulous one liners of his! 

For all these reasons and many more, The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan is by far my favourite book in this series, the characters massively stepped up and worked together and Rick’s writing blended so well with everything! He covers so many emotions and adventures wound into 574 pages and I didn’t want it to end! And only he could create villains that take on the appearance of Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn! This is just one example of how cleverly wicked his writing is! Only he could pull this off with such brilliance! 

And that concludes my review, until next time, happy reading,

Brooklyn. 

Kilby Blades Blog Tour Week 2: Chrysalis


Chrysalis Blurb
We both know what this is, even if we’ve never said it. I was so close to telling her. Then my promotion came through. I thought we had more time. Time to choose one another willingly–not because my move to Sydney forced our hands. Not like this. 
I’m not proud of all the rules I broke, the half-truths I let her believe. I did what every guy who likes a girl does: showed her the best parts of me out of desperation to get her to like me back. Fixing things between us now isn’t about overcoming the distance—it’s about overcoming the lies. I’ve hidden more than she has. And there are things she wants to know. She was right about me all along.
NOW IT’S MICHAEL’S TURN…

Chrysalis rips open a new chapter in the romance genre, presenting complex characters, intense attraction, complicated choices and modern love for the real world. It is for anyone who struggles with competing priorities and demands on their time, but who wants to believe in love. It is told from Michael’s point of view and its prequel, Snapdragon (Book One in the Love Conquers None duet), is told from Darby’s perspective.
CHAPTER 3 EXCERPT: ANGER MANAGEMENT
“Randy.” 
I hear the guilt in my voice as I say my friend’s name. He’s been trying to get a hold of me for weeks. He knows how busy I get, but this is the first time I’ve been so slow to respond.

“You’re alive! I was starting to worry.” 

“I know. I’m sorry. Things have been nuts. I should’ve at least texted.”

“Cringer was ready to put out an APB,” he says, speaking about his ten-year-old tabby cat who was named for He-Man’s shapeshifting battle cat in Masters of the Universe. Randy lives, eats and breathes comic books. 

“What are you doing up? It’s, what, 6AM there?”

“Early flight,” he explains. “Sac Comic-Con is this weekend. Seems like you’ve got quite a fan base in Northern California.”

Getting up from the sofa where I was having my dinner, I walk into my office and fire up my Mac. A nudge on my mouse causes the huge screen to light up and it doesn’t take me long to navigate to my Andrew Dufrain e-mail. It’s the account Randy uses to send me stuff about my book.

“I’m weeks behind,” I admit. A quick scan of seventy unopened messages shows that at least ten are from Randy. I’ve ignored this account for so long that I have a backlog of fan mail, too.

“You’re losing your edge, kid,” he says. “What kind of hack can’t juggle a high-powered job, a non-profit, a bestselling graphic novel series and a hot-as-Violet girlfriend?”

I can’t even bring myself to tell him to shut the hell up and quit ribbing me about comparing Darby to Violet. The second he met Darby, he knew. 

“Me, apparently…” I mutter, sweeping my hand over my face. And I do feel like a failure. I hate the feeling of letting people down.

I know he’s just giving me shit—trying to get me to quit being such an overachiever just like he’s been doing for the better part of twenty years. But he’s more right than he’s ever been. I have too many balls in the air and, one by one, they’re starting to drop. 

“Think we should delay the launch?”

“No,” I say reflexively. “We’re already pushing a year since The Architect came out.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Your asshole publisher will probably drop you if you don’t deliver on time.”

The asshole publisher Randy is referring to is none other than himself.

“You know I work best under pressure. Nothing would ever get done if I didn’t have a deadline.”

“You have a deadline now, and nothing’s getting done,” he points out. “If I had to decide whether to spend my time with a fake girl and a real girl, I’d make the same choice.”

“Yeah, well, that’s no longer an issue. The real girl is 10,000 miles away.”

There’s no point in concealing the misery from my voice.

“How’d she take it?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t talked to her.”

I don’t say that I’m starting to worry. She’s texted me, but it’s not the same thing. I’ve been resisting the urge to call her all day.

“Why the hell not?”

“It’s only been four days.”

“Have you learned nothing from my life?”

“I know, I know. Clarine. The only woman you ever loved. The one you let get away.”

I still remember the day Randy had gotten the invitation to her wedding. I’d been about thirteen. It was the only time I’d ever seen him cry.

“I still see her at Cons sometimes,” Randy mutters, and now it’s his turn to sound miserable. “The first thing I look at is her left hand. Every time, that ring is still there. I put it there. Because I was the idiot who was so busy building a future for us that I didn’t remember to make sure there would be an us to enjoy it. At least I needed the money. What the hell is your excuse?”

I swivel around in my chair. I’m not looking at the monitor anymore anyway. Instead, I look down at the city. 

“It’s not the money.”

“Then what is it? Any idiot can see you two are in love. Why did you take a promotion you don’t need?”

“You know what we agreed to.” 

“Yet, you fell in love with her.”

“Yes.”

“And she fell in love with you.”

“I think so.”

“And your clean, no-strings-attached breakup is messy as hell.”

I don’t gratify his sarcasm with a response.

“Sometimes it’s hard to believe you have an IQ of 142,” he says with a bit of reproach.

“Not helpful.”

But he ignores me.

“You should have gone with Plan A.”

Plan A had been half-baked, but I’d liked its simplicity, and the movie reference would have been apropos. I still would have done the thing with the flowers and presented her with the necklace. But I’d have told her it didn’t have to be over. From there, I’d have given her a choice.

I’d wanted it to be a nod to her favorite movie, Before Sunrise. In the movie, two strangers spend a single night walking the streets of Vienna together and fall a little bit in love. But they each have their own lives to get back to, and things to work out if they decide to be together. So they agree to meet again in the Vienna train station in exactly one year if they still want something more.

What I would have told Darby is that if she wanted a different ending for us, she could meet me in the Vienna train station, on Platform 7, just like in the movie. A year would have killed me, so I’d planned to give her three months. I would have told her that I would show up, because I already knew what I wanted—that part would have been true. I also would have told her that if she didn’t show I’d be okay—that part would have been a lie.

“Plan A is off the table. I’m focused on Plan B.”

“Plan A had a nice romanticism to it. You could still do it, you know.”

“Knowing about the transfer kills the sense of possibility. If she thought choosing me meant choosing a long distance relationship, she’d feel like I was already too far gone.”

“She already thinks you’re gone.”

“She knows I had to go. There’s a difference.”

“Which is…”

“I want her to know that me being called here is separate from what happens with us.”

“Yet instead of showing her a path for the two of you to be together, you left her in limbo.”

“No,” I say slowly. “I laid the first stone on the path. I killed an agreement that neither one of us was sticking to. One that can’t possibly work from 10,000 miles away.”

When Randy doesn’t fire back, I know he’s letting up a little. 

“So what does she think your status is?”

“Right now? Undefined.”

“Says the man who hates ambiguity.”

He’s right, of course. But I didn’t see any other way.

“In order for something better to live, the agreement had to die.”

CHAPTER 4 EXCERPT: IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER
When I walk back into my apartment that night, I’m exhausted. It’s only six-thirty, but I’m seriously considering crashing. I drop my bag on the floor next to the elevator, untuck my shirt and start to unbutton it as I make my way to my bedroom. Dropping my jacket and leaving it on my dressing bench instead of hanging it up makes me feel like a slob, but I’m that tired, and I feel kind of grimy and in the short distance between the elevator doors and my closet, I decide I want a bath. I turn on the spigot, rummage around for some epsom salts, and squeeze in a dropper-full of an oil I found in an apothecary in London that I am pretty sure was run by a witch. When the water is ready, I ease myself in slowly. I hope I don’t fall asleep in here.
I haven’t been in the tub for two minutes when I hear my phone chime. It’s the special tone I hear whenever Darby sends a text. But my phone is on the sink all the way across the room. I’m so warm and comfortable that if it were, literally, anyone else—even the twin sister I shared a womb with—I would let it go. But it’s Darby. So I pull myself out, walking gingerly—I don’t want to slip on the marble floor. 

When I look at the screen of my phone, my face breaks out into a grin. The picture she just sent me is totally worth it. It’s a close-up of her holding my book. She’s hugging it to her chest and the back cover faces the camera. Her eyes are cut off, and the picture shows her from her nose down. Her lips curve in a contented smile. She’s in her bed—I can see her sheets around her—and I realize it’s four o’clock in the morning in Chicago. After I slip back into the water, I swipe the screen so I can view the full picture. That’s when I see her text.

You’ve restored my faith in endings.

TRADE SUMMARY OF CHRYSALIS
Honoring the pact they made to let their careers come first, Michael and Darby end the casual sex part of their relationship when he lands his dream promotion in Sydney. Determined not to let their connection fade, he lays plans for a new kind of friendship. But he can’t get Darby out of his system. When he realizes the move was a mistake, he begins to maneuver the chess pieces that will let him reverse his decision.
But the distance is only half the problem. There are things about Michael that Darby doesn’t know, and he must find ways to reveal his authentic self from 10,000 miles away. Complicating matters are the re-emergence of Michael’s own estranged father, who suddenly wants back into Michael’s life, on top of a chilling revelation about Darby’s father, Frank Christensen. 

With more now at stake than merely winning Darby back, Michael must prepare to take down a powerful insider crime syndicate and decide what lengths he is willing to go to, to take back his beloved neighborhood on the South Side. Destroying Frank could mean endangering Darby, and Michael may have to choose between the two things he loves, all while facing the moral dilemma of how much vigilante justice to serve—after all, Frank is still Darby’s father.

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