First things first, though! I had planned this blog post originally with the intention of semi-spamming Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else each day for the whole week. This past Saturday, February 4th, had been a little bit of a monumental day for me spiritually. And I'll explain why.
Without going into layers of detail, I lost a sibling years ago. His name was Holden, and he passed in 1999 at the age of four months. At the time I had been in second grade, just a child, but being a curious creature who knew too much for her own good at too young an age, it hit me. Hard. I missed weeks of school from the grief, and when I did return all I did was take out his picture from my pocket, stare at it and cry. It had been a breaking point for our family, but in the same breath it taught me to cherish life and to keep those who meant the world to me as close as they'd allow me.
February 3rd marks the day of his death. Every year we go to his grave and leave flowers, sometimes send balloons, leave toys, anything for a small smile in the face of something so heart-crushing. Last year was one of the more humorous years. Ice had collected so thick over the roads and layers of packed snow beneath it that we couldn't get the car up to his grave. We ended up spending about an hour breaking ice and gripping onto each other as we pulled ourselves uphill.
Every year, his death affects me. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him and the life he should have had, but in the same breath I know he's our little angel, and he shows it. One of the first times I had considered writing for a career I experienced a 'paranormal experience'. I know some believe in it and some don't. I never did until that day. Now I look for specific signs, like when a certain set of words appear to me or music specifically dedicated to him that's beyond outdated comes over the radio for no reason.
The experience I had in the middle of work a day his date of passing this past weekend reminded me that I was slacking in writing my draft for Obumbrate, and that he was watching. I'm onto you, little brother. Stop scaring me at work! That was a little something I wanted to share with all of you.
Now, that was only one part of my huge post! Part two is a round up of all the blogs I've recently found who's posted reviews on Illumine!
First is Opinionated Mama with her 4-star review!
Second is Nat & Dee's Book Nook with their 4-star review!
Third is BookStacksOnDeck with her review!
And lastly is Hopelessly Devoted Bibilophile with her review, too!
I encourage all of you to check out the blogs I've mentioned, each one is pretty unique. They all do share one thing in common, though; they're all friendly and love books! (Whoops, that was two, wasn't it?)
Okay, and now for part three of the super-awesome post! The Teaser Tuesday of Obumbrate is a small excerpt between Essallie and Kayden. Enjoy! (Please note this is from the ARC of Obumbrate, and it may not reflect word-for-word what the final product may be.)
I watched the expression in his eyes turn soft, dim glimmers of something kind shining inside them. He reached out to stroke my cheek, his thumb igniting sparks from my skin, like flicking a lighter on. "You remind me of someone." He paused. "For a second I thought...maybe part of them was reincarnated into you."
I studied him carefully, running my eyes over the cuts and burns that littered his body. He looked like a giant mess of ripped tissue paper. "Who do I remind you of?"
He shook his head, the broken look on his face nearly crippling me. Rising to his feet, he stumbled and gently swore. "Doesn't matter who. What matters is that where this person went, it isn't possible to come back."
"Don't stand up," I started to say. I'd barely made it to my feet when he spilled forward, collapsing into my arms. Adjusting my stance to save us from a spill into broken glass and blood, I muttered under my breath. "You have got to be the heaviest thing made of smoke. Ever."
Leaning off of me, Kayden grinned like a jackal, blood smeared across the bridge of his nose and cheek like blush. If we weren't in the middle of a pile of dead bodies, I might have smiled too. "Admit it," he said. "You like this. You wouldn't know what to do without me."
I ignored his words and the hammering in my chest, doing my best to keep him from dragging us to the ground. "How exactly do you get better? Because there's no way I can carry you like this forever."
For a second his gaze returned to the serious Kayden I was accustomed to. "Do you really want the answer to that?"
I locked eyes, prepared to dish the first retort on my tongue, and stopped. Even with his brooding stare my heart felt like it could explode at any moment. I didn't want to look away from him, because what if that last time I saw him was his last? If he died right now, how far did I really think I could get before I'd break down and sob? I realized that while I told Ari my scars were his to guard, Kayden had the same right, maybe even more. I couldn't see the final picture without him, couldn't stand the thought of letting him go. And yet, if I didn't...
"Essallie?" Kayden tilted his head to the side.
Something screamed inside of me to respond. Something, anything. Anything that didn't involve flinging myself into him and kissing him like I'd never see him again. I had to hate him, hate him to the very core so Ari wouldn't kill him. So my heart would survive the break. Demons and angels didn't mix, they couldn't. No amount of love could fix something like that.
And lastly- part four of the longest post I've ever created, I will be posting a video talking about the paperbacks of Illumine, a little about my terrible addiction to caffeinated beverages, and where I'm going to be this spring for a book signing event! Booyah!
(P.S.- If you've made it this far, I commend you. Have a cookie, or a cupcake. Just don't touch my coffee.)