ARC Review: How To Build a Heart by Maria Padian

Title: How to Build a Heart
Author: Maria Padian
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 352 Pages
Publication Date: January 28th, 2020

Summary: All sixteen-year-old Izzy Crawford wants is to feel like she really belongs somewhere. Her father, a marine, died in Iraq six years ago, and Izzy’s moved to a new town nearly every year since, far from the help of her extended family in North Carolina and Puerto Rico. When Izzy’s hardworking mom moves their small family to Virginia, all her dreams start clicking into place. She likes her new school—even if Izzy is careful to keep her scholarship-student status hidden from her well-to-do classmates and her new athletic and popular boyfriend. And best of all: Izzy’s family has been selected by Habitat for Humanity to build and move into a brand-new house. Izzy is this close to the community and permanence she’s been searching for, until all the secret pieces of her life begin to collide.

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, after a conversation got sparked on Twitter and we found out that we actually have a mutual connection based on the college I attend! I thought that was pretty cool, and then when I found out Maria was a YA author, I knew that I definitely wanted to read some of her work. When she sent me How To Build a Heart, I was elated, because the story sounded like just the kind of YA contemporary that I really enjoyed. Thankfully, my hunch was right, so without further ado, let's get into my review:

As the summary explains, Izzy is finally getting settled after her family's recent move, always bouncing from town to town with her mother and brother, still reeling after the tragic death of her father in the Marines. Izzy starts to feel like her life is really coming together -- she has a crush, some good friends, a spot in her school's super competitive a cappella group....but she manages to keep her scholarship student status a secret, and her best from the trailer park is nowhere near her preppy school friends. And then her family is chosen for Habitat for Humanity, which is a major win for them, but that also involves her community knowing about her family's struggles. The balancing act doesn't last for long, and when Izzy's lives threaten to cross over into each other, she isn't sure how she's going to handle it. And what ensues is definitely interesting, that's for sure! 

I really enjoyed reading this book! Maria Padian is an excellent writer, so I found myself being sucked into the story immediately. This book is almost 350 pages, and I managed to finish the entire thing in just two days, because I found myself picking it up every chance I get. I even walked around campus with this book in front of my face while I was heading to class and the library and places to pick up dinner, and it's a miracle I didn't trip and fall flat on my face. I was so just so invested in the story and I loved it! Seeing the way Izzy tried to juggle her lives and keep her paths from crossing (while having the nagging suspicion that somehow things wouldn't stay so separate for much longer) really kept me invested because I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. Seriously, I read over 150 pages in one sitting because this book was just so great that I didn't want to put it down!

Something that I really loved about this book was the wide variety of characters, actually. Everyone on the page was so different, and they all had their own unique little quirks and habits and ways of talking, and they just seemed so thoroughly fleshed out and they all seemed to serve a purpose on the page. It might just be the English major in me talking, but I always found it very frustrating when there were characters in a story that were very clearly thrown there just to serve a plot point, so they felt very two-dimensional. However, there's absolutely none of that in this book, because everyone feels so fleshed out and real that I could see them being people I bumped into at the supermarket or on the street somewhere. I really loved that aspect of the story!

My favorite character in this book was actually Mami. Even though there were times that she was really strict and it felt like she was being really hard on Izzy, it was clear how much she loved her kids and how much she had given up for them and all the hard things she would continue to do for them. She seemed like such a wise, confident, caring woman, and I really appreciated her throughout the whole book, even at times when Izzy didn't. It's not very often that I find the mom figure in a book being one of my favorite characters (I don't actually know why that is, actually), but the fact that my favorite character in the story was someone as resilient, brave, protective, and loving as Rita was definitely a plus for me.

However, the character that I had the hardest time getting along with as a reader was definitely Roz. I get that her life was supposed to be difficult and a bit messy as a way of "messing up" Izzy's perfect facade that she was trying to craft, but I feel like at times she was just really catty and downright mean. (Spoilers incoming, so skip to the next paragraph to avoid them!) I also kinda didn't love the fact that at the end of the story, Izzy and Roz just become instant friends again without actually really talking much out. What Izzy's mom said about cutting out people that drag you down and are harmful to you was something really important, and even though I agree with Mark that Roz wasn't dragging Izzy down in terms of her image or anything like that, there were times when she was a pretty mean friend to Izzy, and that all seems to get brushed under the rug. I'm not saying forgiveness isn't possible, because it absolutely is, but there are some things that need to be brought to light and thoroughly talked out before taking back someone who hurt you so badly. I don't know, that's just my own personal opinion -- but that's also who I am as a person when it comes to "cutting out" people in my life. If they're willing to work on things and talk it out, then I'll cooperate, but people that don't take any hard steps to rectify their actions aren't usually people I want to continue being super-BFFs with. But again, that's just my own personal take on it, and if you disagree, that's completely okay! (And please tell me your reasons in the comments, because I'd love to hear other opinions on this!)

Overall, I really enjoyed reading How To Build a Heart. I think it was a super heartwarming, emotional tale of moving on after loss, settling into a new life, and finding a way to bridge your past and your future in ways that you may not have thought were possible before. Maria Padian is an excellent writer, and it took no time at all for me to fall into her story. I'm super glad that I was given this ARC in exchange for an honest review, and it's safe to say that I'll definitely be reading more of her work in the future!

Waiting On Wednesday: The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read! 

Title: The Sound of Stars 
Author: Alechia Dow
Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy
Publisher: Inkyard Press 
Publication Date: February 25th, 2020

Summary: Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.
Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.
Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.
Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
It's honestly been a while since I read a sci-fi fantasy novel so I'm looking forward to reading this one. I love the idea of the ban on creativity and that the main characters, Ellie and Morris, embark on a journey to try and find a solution. Any book where the main characters go against those above them is a book for me. Let us know below what you're thought on this upcoming release!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so we can stop back! 

Review: The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli

Title: The Sky Weaver (Iskari #3)
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli 
Genre: Fantasy, Dragons
Source: Wunderkind PR
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: November 12th 2019
Hardcover, 400 pages

At the end of one world, there always lies another. Safire, a soldier, knows her role in this world is to serve the King of Firgaard—helping to maintain the peace in her oft-troubled nation. Eris, a deadly pirate, has no such conviction. Known as the Death Dancer for her ability to evade even the most determined of pursuers, she possesses a superhuman power to move between worlds. When one can roam from dimension to dimension, can one ever be home? Can love and loyalty truly exist? Now Safire and Eris—sworn enemies—find themselves on a common mission: to find Asha, the last Namsara. From the port city of Darmoor to the fabled faraway Star Isles, their search and their stories become woven ever more tightly together as they discover the uncertain fate they’re hurtling towards may just be a shared one. In this world—and the next.

If I thought my emotions were all over the place after The Last Namsara and The Caged Queen then that was nothing compared to all the feels that The Sky Weaver has given me. The Sky Weaver had been hooked from page one and I stayed up way past my bed time to finish it. It is very rare that I can read a book in one sitting anymore and The Sky Weaver was an exception to that! Since I was introduced to Safire in The Last Namsara I couldn't wait to read a book with her as the main character and The Sky Weaver has been the remedy to that. 

The Sky Weaver had a different feel to it then the previous two novels in the series had, but it is a good different. I think it has to do with the fact that the previous novels focused on the fall of Firgaard and rebuilding it and in this novel the nation is in a good place or is on a path to being in a good place (for the most part.) I also think the fact that the old stories also play a very intricate part in Eris' story only added to this. But with all this being said I can confidently say that The Sky Weaver is my favorite book in this series! 

Another thing that made The Sky Weaver a little different is that we get both Safire and Eris' POV. We get to see the struggles that both of these girls have faced in life and the struggles they are still facing. I loved getting to be in Safire's head and her thought process. Being a half blood Safire grew up being looked down upon, she wasn't even allowed to touch her cousin's or meet their eyes in conversation. Since the rebellion she has now taken on the position of Commandant, the position that Jarek had held before the rebellion. We see a few flashbacks of Safire's treatment at Jarek's hands and all I can say is my heart broke for her. I was cheering for her as she drove that knife through his heart in the The Last Namsara and I continue to cheer for her as she continues to make decisions to better herself. 

I'm not going to talk about Eris for the fear of spoiling anything, but I will say this: I love her character and love her introduction into this world. 

THE ROMANCE. I thought Dax and Roa was a rough romance. I had no idea which way the romance in this book was going. Was it going to happen? Was I looking to far into it? When were they going to kiss? All I know is that from the moment Safire and Eris were on the same page I was shipping them. The romance aspect in The Sky Weaver has been by far my favorite romance I have read in a long time. 

The Sky Weaver wrapped up the Iskari series together rather well. Where The Last Namsara and The Caged Queen wrapped up the individual conflicts in their stories, The Sky Weaver wrapped up the story, world and characters as a whole. I am sad to be leaving this world and these characters and I do hope that Kristen revisits them one day. The Iskari will be a series that stays with me for a long time and one I plan on revisiting. 

Check out my review of The Last Namsara & The Caged Queen!
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ARC Review: The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert

Title: The Revolution of Birdie Randolph
Author: Brandy Colbert
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 336 Pages
Published August 2019

Summary: Dove "Birdie" Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she's on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past...whom she knows her parents will never approve of. When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family's apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded--she's also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she's known to be true is turned upside down.

I received an ARC of THE REVOLUTION OF BIRDIE RANDOLPH when I was at BookExpo this year, and I was lucky enough to meet Brandy and get it signed! She’s super sweet in person, and I absolutely loved Little & Lion, so I knew that this would be another great story that I couldn’t wait to dive into. And the cover is absolutely gorgeous (I am such a sucker for bright, illustrated covers), which is another reason that I couldn’t wait to pick this one up! So without further ado, let’s get into my review:
As the summary explains, Birdie Randolph is sick of living with her parents’ strict rules. They made her give up the sport she loves to focus on school, are forcing her to spend her summer in SAT prep classes, and she can’t date and they have to monitor everyone that she hangs out with. It gets incredibly frustrating, but Birdie knows that they just want the best for her, which is why she goes along with it. That is, until her newly sober aunt, Carlene, comes to stay with them. Suddenly, Birdie feels like she’s learning a lot more about her life than she previously knew, and starts to feel the itch to push a few more boundaries…but what will the consequences be if she gets caught?
I really, really enjoyed reading this book! I actually breezed through it super quickly, usually doing about 100 pages in a sitting, so it didn’t take me long to finish it. Brandy Colbert is an expert at weaving together a great story that has you hooked from the very beginning until the very end. I felt Birdie’s annoyance and frustration, swooning and giddiness, throughout the whole story. It was really easy to slip into her head and go along for the ride with her!
My favorite character in this book was definitely Booker. He was just so sweet and kind and loving and caring, and seeing everything he did to make Dove happy really made me swoon inside. He was definitely the perfect guy and a great friend, and I was cheering him on from start to finish! Speaking of great friends, I also really appreciated Laz and the fact that he was always there for Dove no matter what in the book.
(MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH!! Skip to the next one to avoid them!!) I have to say, I was completely blown away with the plot twist in this book. When Dove overhears Carlene and Emmett talking about Carlene not wanting her to be taken away, I figured it out right away, so by the time the big reveal came, I wasn’t super shocked. HOWEVER, I hadn’t seen that coming up until that conversation with Emmett, but then it suddenly all made sense. I can’t imagine the kind of turmoil Dove must’ve been feeling in that moment, to know that almost everything in your life up until that point had been a lie. And the fact that this all stemmed from her seemingly perfect father’s infidelity? That’s even worse. It was such a shocking plot twist that truly knocked me off my feet in the best way – I didn’t see it coming, but when I thought back, the clues were all there. It was really well done!
The only thing I wasn’t super crazy about with this book was the fact that it seemed like the ending was a little bit rushed and fell together a little bit too perfectly. I was also left wondering how Birdie was going to cope with everything she learned, aBut then again, that might just be my own personal reading 

Overall, I really loved THE REVOLUTION OF BIRDIE RANDOLPH. If you’re looking for a quick, gripping read that you can fly through and be pleasantly surprised by, I’d definitely recommend this one. Hats off to Brandy Colbert for blowing me away yet again – I’m looking forward to reading more of her work!


Review: The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

Title: The Caged Queen (Iskari #2)
Author: Kristin Ciccarelli
Genre: Fantasy, Dragons
Source: Wunderkind PR
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 25th 2018
Hardcover, 400 pages

Kristen Ciccarelli’s distinct brand of lyrical, haunting fantasy continues in the companion to her bestselling debut, The Last Namsara. Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and Renee Ahdieh. Once there were two sisters born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever. Roa and Essie called it the hum. It was a magic they cherished—until the day a terrible accident took Essie’s life and trapped her soul in this world. Dax—the heir to Firgaard’s throne—was responsible for the accident. Roa swore to hate him forever. But eight years later he returned, begging for her help. He was determined to dethrone his cruel father, under whose oppressive reign Roa’s people had suffered. Roa made him a deal: she’d give him the army he needed if he made her queen. Only as queen could she save her people from Firgaard’s rule. Then a chance arises to right every wrong—an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister. During the Relinquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa discovers she can reclaim her sister for good. All she has to do is kill the king.

As I said in my review of The Last Namsara, why did I wait so long to read these books?! The Caged Queen was full of twists and turns that left me on the edge of my seat for the entire book. It also gave another view of the rebellion that Dax, Roa and Safire successfully pulled off and it continued building onto the magnificent world that had Kristen created. 

Instead of The Caged Queen following Asha, this book focuses on Roa, the Scrublander and heir to the House of Song turned Queen after marrying Dax in The Last Namsara. Tensions between the Scrublanders and the Draksors are at an all time high, and many are looking upon their new queen with disgust and contempt. Never mind the fact that every believes that the King has been sharing everyone's bed but his wife's. Roa only agreed to the marriage to help save her people by creating a stronger alliance, but it isn't going as planned. Before Dax showed up in the Scrublands several weeks prior, Roa hadn't seen him in eight years. Not since the night that her sister, Essie died. Dax isn't the King she imagined him to be and soon in desperation to save her people Roa is plotting against him. But soon she begins to fall for the King she swore to hate. 

The tension between Roa and Dax through out this book is thick enough to cut with a knife. I found them both to be very prideful characters and at certain times that got in the way of them actually seeing each other. Roa spends a huge chunk of the novel believing that Dax is sleeping with someone close to her and Dax assumes that Roa is still in love with the boy she betrayed back home. I think what I loved most about Dax and Roa relationship was that their story wasn't neat and linear. It was messy and scattered. They had their highs and they had their lows but at the end they found where they belonged. The romance in The Caged Queen pulled at my heart strings, something that a novel hasn't done in a long long time. 

For all the mystery that surrounded Ellie's death and why Dax was at fault, I was dissapointed. I expected something a lot bigger and dramatic then when actually happened. Especially for the amount of hatred and contempt that Roa had held for Dax. 

Overall I really loved The Cage Queen and loved being able to see the brief return of Asha and Torwin at the end. I am super excited to read The Sky Weaver and finally have my hands on Safire's story and her adventure. She has become one of my favorite characters through the series so far and I can't wait for more of her. Thank you so much Wunderkind PR for the opportunity to read and review this series! 

Check out my review of The Last Namsara!
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Blog Tour: Day Zero by Kelly deVos (Excerpt!)

Hi! Hello! Happy Thursday and welcome to our stop for the DAY ZERO blog tour that Inkyard Press has put together! Amber had the opportunity to read DAY ZERO earlier this year and enjoyed it! Below there is an exclusive excerpt and if you love that we highly recommend ordering a copy because this book can not be missed for this year! 


 Title: Day Zero
Author: Kelly deVos
Publication Date: 11/12/19
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Summary: If you're going through hell...keep going. Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby. But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos. In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?



KELLY DEVOS is from Gilbert, Arizona, where she lives with her high school sweetheart husband, amazing teen daughter and superhero dog, Cocoa. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. When not reading or writing, Kelly can typically be found with a mocha in hand, bingeing the latest TV shows and adding to her ever-growing sticker collection. Her debut novel, Fat Girl on a Plane, named one of the "50 Best Summer Reads of All Time" by Reader's Digest magazine, is available now from HarperCollins. Kelly's work has been featured in the New York Times as well as on Salon, Vulture and Bustle.

Keep up with Kelly: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Goodreads


Dr. Doomsday’s Guide to Ultimate Survival
Rule One: Always be prepared.
I exhale in relief when MacKenna pulls the car into the Halliwell’s Market parking lot. Because of the Sugar Sales Permit waiting list, old stores like these are the only places that carry Extra Jolt soda. I have to buy it myself, because Mom won’t keep any in the house.
She thinks too much caffeine rots your brain or something. Halliwell’s is a squat brown building that sits across the street from the mall and is next door to the town’s only skyscraper.
The First Federal Building was supposed to be the first piece of a suburban business district designed to rival the hip boroughs of New York. The mayor announced the construction of a movie theater, an apartment complex and an indoor aquarium. But the New Depression hit, and the other buildings never materialized.
The First Federal Building alone soars toward the clouds, an ugly glass rectangle visible from every neighborhood, surrounded by the old town shops that have been there forever. Most of the stores are empty.
We park in front of the market.
Our car nestles in the long shadow of the giant bank building.
Charles gets out and stands on the sidewalk in front of the car.
MacKenna opens her door. She hesitates again. “Listen, I know you might not want to hear this or believe it. But my book report wasn’t about hurting you or getting revenge. I’m trying to get you to see what’s really happening here. That Carver’s election is the start of something bad. We could use you at the rally. You’re one of the few people who understands Dr. Doomsday’s work. You could explain what he did. How he helped Carver cheat to win.”
“I’ve been planning this raid for months,” I say. My stomach churns, sending uncomfortable flutters through my insides. I don’t know what it would mean to talk about my father’s work. What I really want to do is pretend it doesn’t exist. Pretend the world is normal and whole.
I reassure myself with the reminder that there’s no way MacKenna is going to the rally either.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Charles give us a small wave. Before MacKenna can say anything else, I get out and grab my backpack.
Inside Halliwell’s, I pick up a blue basket from the stack near the door. The small market is busy and full of other people shopping after school or work. The smell of pine cleaner hits me as we pass the checkout stations. They are super serious about germs and always cleaning between customers.
I leave MacKenna and Charles at the Click N’Grow rack near the door to check out the seed packets that my brother collects. Dad got Charles hooked on this computerized gardening that uses an e-tablet and a series of tiny indoor lights to create the ideal indoor planter box. Each week, they release a new set of exclusive seeds. Their genetic modifications are controversial.
All the soda is in large coolers that line one of the walls of the market. They keep the strange stuff in the corner. Expensive root beers. Ramune imported from Japan. And! Extra! Jolt! I put a few bottles of strawberry in my basket. I snag some grape too. For a second, I consider buying a couple of bottles of doughnut flavor. But that sounds like too much, even for me. The chips are in the next aisle. I load up on cheese puffs and spicy nacho crisps.
MacKenna and Charles are still at the rack near the door, and I try to squeeze by them without attracting any notice. I usually don’t buy unhealthy snacks when I’m with my brother. I smuggle them in my backpack and have a special hiding space in my desk.
My brother has type 1 diabetes, and he’s supposed to check his blood sugar after meals. He can have starchy or sugary snacks only when his glucose level is good or on special occasions.
MacKenna grimaces at a packet of seeds in her hands. “I still don’t like this one. It’s pretty. But still. It’s…carnivorous.”
I have to hand it to her. She really does have a look. She’s pale and white, like me, but she manages to seem like she’s doing it on purpose and not because she’s some kind of vampire- movie reject. Her glossy black hair always rests in perfect waves, and if the journalism thing doesn’t work out, she could definitely have a career in fashion design.
Charles smiles at her. “It’s a new kind of pitcher plant. Like the Cobra Lily.” He points to the picture on the front of the seed packet. “Look at the blue flowers. That’s new.”
 “It eats other plants,” MacKenna says.
“You eat plants.”
“But I don’t eat people,” MacKenna says. “There’s got to be some kind of natural law that says you shouldn’t eat your own kind.”
Charles giggles.
So far so good. Until.
My brother trots up behind me and dumps a few packs of seeds in my basket. His gaze lands on my selection of soda and chips. “Can I get some snacks too?”
 I freeze. “What’s your number?”
Charles pretends he can’t hear me. That’s not a good sign.
“Charles, what’s your number?”
He still doesn’t look at me. “I forgot my monitor today.”
“Well, I have mine.” I kneel down and dig around for the spare glucometer I keep in the front pocket of my backpack. By the time I get it out, MacKenna has already pulled Charles out of his blazer and rolled up the sleeve of his blue dress shirt. I wave the device over the small white sensor disk attached to my brother’s upper arm.
After a few seconds, the glucometer beeps and a number displays on the screen.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
“Charles! What did you eat today?”
My brother’s face turns red. “They were having breakfast-for-lunch day at school. Everyone else was having pancakes. Why can’t I have pancakes?”
I sigh. Something about his puckered up little face keeps me from reminding him that if he eats too much sugar he could die. “You know what Mom said. If you eat something you’re not supposed to, you have to get a pass and go to the nurse for your meds.”
My brother’s shoulders slump. “I couldn’t go to the nurse. Hummingbirds were visiting the Chuparosa and…”
Charles is on the verge of tears and frowns even more deeply at the sight of my basket full of junk food.
“Look,” I say. “There are plenty of healthy snacks we can eat. I’ll put this stuff back.”
“That’s right,” MacKenna says, giving Charles’s hand a squeeze. “We can get some popcorn. Yogurt. Um, I saw some really delicious-looking fresh pears back there.”
“And they have the cheese cubes you like,” I add.
We go around the store replacing the cheese puffs and soda with healthy stuff. I hesitate when I have to put back the Extra Jolt, but I really don’t want to make my brother feel bad because I can drink sugary stuff and he can’t.
We pay for the healthy snacks and the seed packets.
 I grab the bags and move toward the market’s sliding doors.
I end up ahead of them, waiting outside by the car and facing the store. The shopping center behind Halliwell’s is mostly empty. The shoe store went out of business last year. Strauss Stationers, where everyone used to buy their fancy wedding invitations, closed two years before that. The fish ’n’ chips drive-through is doing okay and has a little crowd in front of the take-out window. Way off in the distance, Saba’s is still open, because in Arizona, cowboy boots and hats aren’t considered optional.
I watch MacKenna and Charles step out of the double doors and into the parking lot. Two little dimples appear on MacKenna’s cheeks when she smiles. Charles has a looseness to his walk. His arms dangle.
There’s a low rumble, like thunder from a storm that couldn’t possibly exist on this perfectly sunny day.
Something’s wrong 
In the reflection of the market’s high, shiny windows, I see something happening in the bank building next door. Some kind of fire burning in the lower levels. A pain builds in my chest and I force air into my lungs. My vision blurs at the edges. It’s panic, and there isn’t much time before it overtakes me.
The muscles in my legs tense and I take off at a sprint, grabbing MacKenna and Charles as I pass. I haul them along with me twenty feet or so into the store. We clear the door and run past a man and a woman frozen at the sight of what’s going on across the street.
I desperately want to look back.
But I don’t.
A scream.
A low, loud boom.
My ears ring.
The lights in the store go off.
I’ve got MacKenna by the strap of her maxidress and Charles by the neck. We feel our way in the dim light. The three of us crouch and huddle together behind a cash counter. A few feet in front of us, the cashier who checked us out two minutes ago is sitting on the floor hugging her knees.
We’re going to die.
Charles’s mouth is wide-open. His lips move. He pulls at the sleeve of my T-shirt.
I can’t hear anything.
It takes everything I’ve got to force myself to move.
Leaning forward. Pressing my face into the plywood of the store counter, I peek around the corner using one eye to see out the glass door. My eyelashes brush against the rough wood, and I grip the edge to steady myself. I take in the smell of wood glue with each breath.
Hail falls in the parking lot. I realize it’s glass.
My stomach twists into a hard knot.
It’s raining glass.
That’s the last thing I see before a wave of dust rolls over the building.
Leaving us in darkness.

*Excerpted from Day Zero by Kelly deVos, Copyright © 2019 by Kelly deVos. Published by Inkyard Press.*

Thank you so much Inkyard Press for inviting us to be a part of this blog tour! We really enjoyed Day Zero and we are super excited to be sharing to love for it! 💙

Top Ten Tuesday: Changes In My Reading Life in 2019!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between!

This week's theme: Changes In My Reading Life in 2019!

1. I can't read for long periods of time anymore. I use to be the kind of person who could sit down for hours at a time and read a full book. Since coming back from my blogging hiatus in 2017 my attention span is pretty short and I find that I can read about a hundred pages before I get super antsy. There have been a couple of books where I can read a lot more of it, but more often then not I'll get antsy. Regardless of how much I am enjoying a book! 

2. My reading time has cut in half. In September I started a new job at Lush as a floor leader. Besides having to learn the ropes of the products and ingredients I also have to learn the floor leading part as well. I been working a lot of hours and learning a lot of things. It also has required me to study a lot because there is so much to memorize. But regardless of that I am extremely happy there and I hope I'll have more reading time once my training is over! 

3. I don't read YA contemporary romance anymore. At least for review copy purposes, I will read a blacklisted one occasionally. It's very rare that I do read a YA contemporary anymore and it's simply because I am no longer the targeted age group for the genre and I can't relate with the characters. Which if I am not going to enjoy it and I know I'm not, why am I going to leave a negative review behind when I know I didn't like it because I am too old for it? It isn't fair to the author or the book. There are a few I will attempt to read though and a few that I have loved. But it has been very far and few in between for me to find one that I enjoy. 

I know that this is only three changes but I couldn't think of anymore! What are some changes in your reading life in 2019!? Leave the link to your Top Ten Tuesday below so I can stop back!