Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dystopian Giveaway Hop Win ebook of Partials by Dan Wells & Persistence of Vision by Liesel K. Hill

This Giveaway hop is all about Dystopian books. Its hosted by I am A Reader Not a Writer and My Shelf Confessions
I will be giving away a few ebooks of Dystopian books I like. One is not released yet and is being offered by the author. She will send out when its released. That is Persistince Of Vision by Liesel K. Hill 

In a world where collective hives are enslaving the population and individuals have been hunted to the verge of extinction, Maggie Harper, and independent 21st Century woman, must find the strength to preserve the freedom of the future, but without the aid of her memories.

After experiencing a traumatic time loss, Maggie is plagued by a barrage of images she can't explain. When she's attacked by a creep with a spider's web tattoo, she is saved by Marcus, a man she's never met, but somehow remembers. He tells her that both he and her creepy attacker are from a future in which individuals are being murdered by collectives, and Marcus is part of the rebellion. The collectives have acquired time travel and they plan to enslave the human race throughout all of history. The flashes Maggie has been seeing are echoes of lost memories, and the information buried deep within them is instrumental in defeating the collective hives.

In order to preserve the individuality of mankind, Maggie must try to re-discover stolen memories, re-kindle friendships she has no recollection of, and wade through her feelings for the mysterious Marcus, all while dodging the tattooed assassins the collectives keep sending her way.

If Maggie can't fill the holes in her memory and find the answers to stop the collectives, the world both in her time and in all ages past and future will be doomed to enslavement in the grey, mediocre collectives. As the danger swirls around her and the collectives close in, Maggie realizes she must make a choice: stand out or fade away...

*New Adult futuristic dystopian fantasy

I also and giving away an ebook copy of Partials by Dan Wells

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them--connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

Dan Wells, acclaimed author of "I Am Not a Serial Killer," takes readers on a pulsepounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question--one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.

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Fall In Love Giveaway Hop! Win Flutter and Marked for Vengeance!

Welsome to the Fall In Love Blog Hop Giveaway! This giveaway is for books we fell in love with, or just really like. Books we really want to share the word about. This is International, both books are ebooks. This giveaway hop is hosted by these lovely blogs:

Click on Toni Aleo's button to enter her great giveaway of some amazing things, including 2 HD Kindle Fire's!! Awesome!

“Isaac was more than just precious to her, he was precious in ways the world could only fathom. If she failed, she failed everyone.” –Marked for Vengeance

Alyx Rayer’s existence in Atlanta, the eternally bustling capital of Georgia, is one of routine and blending in among the worker bees. But her ‘normal’ life is actually a façade for a higher calling; she's a three hundred year old soul, encased in a human vessel and sent from the darkness between heaven and Earth to capture her Marked when summoned by her superiors.

During the initial, routine stake-out of her Marked, a dream prophet named Isaac Walsh, Alyx is thrown for an emotional loop when his allure captivates her heart from two rooftops away. The event marks the very instance when her sense of what’s right and what’s wrong is brutally challenged as her contact with him is strictly forbidden.

While already trapped between honor and desire, her emotional struggles are further challenged by a man in a black suit who continually pops up when she least expects it, his presence evoking a strange response from the scar she was branded with at birth. The scar tingles like a warning beacon, alerting her that something is amiss. Because her superiors never told her what this would mean, or much of anything except what to do when they summon, she can only conclude to try and keep her sanity, and her life, from completely shattering to pieces.

This engaging first book of the series is a Paranormal Romance novel interlaced with twists, turns, and thrilling suspense that is sure to satisfy readers of any genre.

May not be suitable for YA.

Marked for Vengence Excerpt

You will also get a copy of this amazing book, Flutter!

Sara's life is forever changed -
Waking up, buried & hidden deeply in the last place anyone would want to be, will do that. She is determined to find out how she ended up there & why, but when the only person who can help her, continuously lies to her, she finds herself forced to suffer alone. She can't ignore the strange things that begin to happen to her nor can she hide from the nightmares that haunt her sleep. And when her world collides with Adan - the mysterious boy whom she can't seem to stay away from, literally - she is consumed by the familiar flutter that sparks whenever he is around and she is desperate to discover the reason why.
But the biggest discovery will come from the secret of what she is…


Adan’s mission to find Sara has finally approached -
It seemed simple: bring her back to the enchanted world that lives, breathes and survives because of her, but he quickly finds himself faced with an entirely new challenge. Immediately, Adan realizes that staying unknown to Sara is a task he will fail before even attempting. The pull to her is far too strong to refuse, and being with her will defy the very reason he existed. He was the key to her survival and loving her was not part of the plan that he had been born to follow. Can he find it in himself too resist the urge to be with her and follow through with their destiny or will he destroy everything that had been left to Sara to protect and defend -
And the kingdom she is unaware she rules…


As Sara and Adan struggle to overcome their own separate battles -
There is a far more determined evil that is stalking the shadows and waiting to annihilate them both.
Sara will figure out that not everything is what it seems and knowing what she can and can not trust will be the key to finding out the truth to what happened to her, the reason why she had been buried alive and who she really is…

Sara and Adan will discover the hidden meaning to why she was the reason he existed and why he would be the reason she survived & together they will fight to change the rules and rewrite their fate.

Discover the Meaning,
Discover the Secret,

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Giveaway ~ Interview & Review Vlkolak King (The Gothic Memoirs Series #4) by Rebekah Armunsik

My Review:

Wow, where to start? This book was soooooo good, I have trouble putting it into words. It had my emotions on a roller-coaster along with Nadija. I actually cried at one very traumatic scene about ¾ in, wont say what, but man, this book sucks you into Nadija’s world right with her. I will say, it’s the best book so far. But then again, its hard to compare them, as its an ongoing story,  you have to read them all to understand it. They are memoirs in fact, written that way, and I love it.

This book continues right where we left off in book 3, Lucifer Rising. I won’t get into any spoilers for any of the books, as I want people who had not read any, to be able to read this, and see what a great series it really is, and give it a shot. This series is one that had me even more passionate about them than any other books out there, and there are many I really, really like, but this I love in a way I can’t explain.

Rebekah’s writing is top notch, it really is. It’s flawless, exceptional in a way that leaves me speechless. The way you get sucked in, and nothing else around you matters anymore.
I think the thing I love the most about this series, is that it is different than the usual vampire story, as I do not really call it that, as you can just as easily call it a fallen angel story. 

Basically, I will say one thing, this series of vampires are actually fallen angels, from long ago. When exiled to earth, they found surviving on earth extremely difficult, no food would sustain them, until they found only human blood would. This is where it starts. And they are able to give the “gift” to selected loved ones; they have their own society, and rules to follow. Which leads up to Nadija, who is an “old soul” lets say. She is a Guardian and Guardians are also as old as the Fallen, I won’t get into explaining the Guardians, but lets say it’s a line of female magical users, who are in touch with nature. I guess that’s the best way to sum it up. These Guardians are part of a council that governs the fallen and their offsprings and the transfers (people that have been made immortal) 

So, I believe anyone who enjoys fallen angels and or vampires, will really be able to get into this series. You start with The Memoirs of a Gothic Soul, which starts with Nadija’s life before she discovers this life, and follow her on the journey to discover who she is. (and that’s a great surprise, remember I said she is an old soul, well, you find out in 3rd book, Lucifer Rising) Then you read Mariposa, the journey of Nadija’s learning of the ways of the Guardians and more, then Lucifer Rising. Where big things are discovered.

This book goes deeper into her past, and what she must do. She will loose people she loves, and the pain she feels you will feel.
I love the deep romance and love that continues with Nadija and Alexei who finally get married.

I continue to LOVE Nadija’s funny antics, lol, I can see what she means on some stuff, like the whole wedding deal, she is not into it, the crowds and all the stuff that goes with it. I am with her on that, me, can’t stand crowds and all that. Here is a funny quote about the whole wedding deal, lol:

Alexei caressed my back. “Are you all right?”“I’m fine … but you know I hate crowds—and people in general, for that matter. That was absolutely awful, and I’m certain I will never put myself through again. Why on Earth would people feel the need to go up to a complete stranger and kiss them? It’s weird, right?” I waited for him to confirm and approve my neurotic issues.All I got was a look of disbelief. “My darling, you are a social nightmare.”“What—you want a divorce now because I’m not fond of embracing strangers?” I asked sarcastically.He pulled me close and kissed my forehead. “Never!” 
That would be me, lol. Her whit and quick tongue had me laughing at times. She has a bit of a potty mouth, but its her, and find it hilarious. She seems harsh at times, but we get to see how passionate and caring she really is. She is very empathetic and I love her for it. She feels deeply for so many, and my heart hurt for her pain at some dramatic events she has to endure.
Here is another quote that I absolutely just love. It’s a thought that Diji (Nadija) is having at her wedding.

He had loved me for centuries;he’d loved me before it was necessary to mark time. We were two spirits forbidden to love, yet we abandoned all reason and allowed ourselves to be swept away. That, in my opinion, was true love— the kind of love you risk dying for. 
I can’t get into the story much more without spoiling things. I kept this as spoiler free as I could for all the books. But some things are mentioned, and impossible to keep the first 3 out of it. It’s all an ongoing story as I mentioned. So start with the first book, and don’t stop, as it just gets better and better. Book one is just a stepping stone to more.
Again, Rebekah has brought us an epic tale of fallen angels/vampires and the most epic love of all. You need to check it out.
5 out of 5 stars, but would give a 10 if I could!

Interview with Rebekah Armusik!

Question 1:
I would like to help readers get to know you, so what would you like to share that we may not know about you?
I was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in an area that was predominately Slovak. Growing up in this environment, surrounded by the rich culture, supernatural fascination, and folklore, truly molded me into who I am today and had a huge impact on my series. My grandmother, who lived one house down from me growing up, is a gifted story teller and her legends and tales became the very inspiration for my novels.As a child, she would gather the neighborhood children on her front steps and tell us stories of the “old country”.  Often, they were dark, morbid, and deeply romantic – I was enthralled. I was so enraptured by the darkness and beauty – the conflict and desire for redemption, that even as a young child, I knew I wanted to write and began dreaming of the world I have created. In many ways, my childhood was strange but very ideal in certain ways – I feel very fortunate.

Question 2:
Can you tell new readers or hopeful readers about the series? And how its not the “Usual” vampire story? Explain the best you can without major spoilers.
The series is difficult to summarize even under the most ideal circumstances - I always find this question to be terribly daunting. How do you simply describe an epic adventure, and without ruining the surprises and allure of the story?  I never feeling comfortable describing it as a vampire series because my vampires are fallen angels and not the stereotypical vampires that most expect. Though it’s deeply romantic, that is not the primary focus either. The novels are so layered it’s difficult to give it one clear explanation.

I have always been fascinated by Jewish mysticism, Catholicism, and witchcraft – and not necessarily in that order.  All of these passions shaped the novels and somehow, I was able to make it all work.My tale begins before time was recorded, during the first celestial war when God threw Lucifer into hell and separated his army. Some remained neutral and God felt that He could not trust these angels to remain in heaven and serve Him well, so He banished them to Earth as punishment.  The fallen had to adapt and because they were not born, but created, their bodies adjusted and mutated – hence the need for blood.

Without ruing the story, I also have incorporated the legends of Lilith, the first wife of Adam. Throughout history, Lilith has been demonized; she has been called the first vampire, a succubus, and sadly, the cause of stillborn deaths. But, I never liked or bought that idea. She simply didn’t dig Adam and in my opinion, that’s not a sufficient reason to make her the origin all things rancid and foul. So, taking some artistic license, I made her an ethereal goddess who catches the eye of Samuel- the Arch Angel of the elements and master of the wind. They fall in love and have 7 daughters with angelic blood and gifts.  Thus, the Guardian race is born and is, eventually, critical in helping the fallen adapt to their life on Earth.

However, the story is told in present day through the voice of Nadija, a young woman from the line of Lilith. She is not aware of her linage because her grandmother has kept it a secret for own selfish reasons.  Though it’s rooted in the past, it’s relatable because it’s told in a present and modern voice. I want to engage the audience, not distance them, and I achieve this by welcoming them to be part of the story, to be present on the journey.  Consequently, the reader learns most of the dramatic back stories from the characters that assist Nadija on her adventure to becoming the active Guardian Queen.

Question 3:
Have you traveled to the places Nadija does in the books?
 Yes, I have family in Bratislava.

Question 4:
Who is your favorite character, 2nd and 3rd favorites too, and why? I love Alexei, and Nadija too of course, and then James.
My favorite character will always be Nadija – I know her the best, we are inseparable. But I love writing each character for different reasons. Most are based off of real people so when writing them, I imagine their mannerisms, what they would say, or how they would say it. Writing Alexei is easy because I live with him – he is based on my husband. My husband is very nurturing and protective and has a very quick and dry sense of humor. So most of the conversations between Alexei and Nadija are actual conversations we’ve had. And yes, I wake up Eric in the middle of the night often worrying about things I cannot fix.Lastly, I love James and from my fan mail, so does everyone else! James is a mixture of my close guy friends – he embodies all their quirks, depth and insecurities. I have a few male friends that I have been close with since childhood and they tell me everything and are continually asking for my advice concerning women and everything else. I hate when they continue to complain about the same issues that I thought we already ironed out! I am not known for my patience or subtlety so it seems that I spend a lot of time yelling at them the way Nadija yells at James for continually repeating mistakes concerning women and life. It’s terribly mind-numbing.

Question 5:
I love to get into the authors head, and get a visual of the characters. If this was to become a movie, who would you see as Nadija, Alexei, Nickolas, James , Jozeph and Michael? (I agree with these choices by the way)
For Nadija, I would choose Jessica Brown Findlay – I love her work on Downton Abbey and knew immediately that she was perfect to play Nadija. Dija is complex; she is strong, elegant, well-spoken, sarcastic, and terribly self-deprecating and it would take an actress who is multi-faceted to do her justice. Nadija is not an average 23 year old woman; she is mature beyond her years and is a talented social chameleon – something that would need to be conveyed on film. She is different with Crash then with council members – she knows how to rise to the occasion with a certain amount of grace and poise.

For Alexei, I would choose Henry Cavill. Primarily because Alexei has such a sophisticated charm and a sense of humor that needs to be interpreted properly and I think Henry Cavill could easily translate that.

I believe that Chris Pine would make a great Nikolas - he has a certain amount of natural sophistication about him and an excellent sense of comedic timing.

James, Jozef and Michael are difficult to cast! I have yet to find someone that could do them justice. I’ll keep looking!

Question 6:
Which scene in any of the books, either made you cry the most or laugh the hardest?
Honestly, I cry and laugh a lot when writing. When I write, the movie is playing in my head - I am there with my characters. I can literally feel, smell and see everything so when something funny or tragic happens, I respond accordingly. Most times, I wonder if my readers “get” the humor of certain situations because I have a very dark and morbid sense of humor - I often wonder if they are experiencing the scenes the way I intend. For instance, I love writing the countess – I cannot think of a more alluring sociopath. To me, everything she does is hilarious in a disturbing way and I love the way Nadija responds to the absurdity with sarcasm and frustration. In my opinion, some of the funniest scenes were in Mariposa at the countess’s home.The book that made me cry the most was Vlkolak King. I had just finished the last chapter when my husband walked into the room because my editor needed to speak with me. Instantly, he thought something terrible happened because I was crying so hard – he was relieved to hear it was only because one of my characters died. I become so involved, so entangled in their lives that I mourn them when they pass as I would any friend I loved dearly. For days I was not myself because in a way, I missed this character and was so upset that she and I would never again spend time together - that she would never whisper to me anymore. It’s utterly tragic and strange.

Question 7:
Where do you like to write the most?
This is where I can lie and tell you I make a pot of tea and put on some old magick sweater but I’ll tell you the truth.  I always write in full make-up – I can’t have my character’s see me looking awful and I always write in bed. This is the sad and crazy truth – I swear. I’ve tried to write in my husband’s office, at the dining room table, and the kitchen table and it just doesn’t happen. I end up re-arranging the furniture, dusting the fireplaces, and picking up Barbie shoes, or half eaten candy. But, in my bed, I’m a writing wizard. It’s just nuts.

Question 8:
Tell us about the amazing covers, I am sure not everyone knows they are oil paintings done by your husband. (you wont find duplicates of models on other covers like we do so much now, lucky you)
 I am very fortunate to be married to a well-known traditional painter. My husband’s work is terribly romantic and captivating – I often marvel at how well he paints emotion - a slice of time that would otherwise, be forgotten. I remember the night we first met, he had just returned to the states from studying in Italy and I was instantly enamored with him. We spent the night talking about art and poetry and we both agree that we fell in love that night. To me, it was evident that he had something special - a talent for conveying deep emotion and narrative in one single expression. It was this beauty that made me fall so hard and fast – it was as if I finally found someone who understood all the passion inside me – it was amazing!What I do with words, he does with paint so the artistic marriage of our art forms only seemed natural. Plus, I can yell at him and complain until I get my way – this is extremely important! Honestly, after 16 years, we know each other so well that I just give him a few thoughts and he knows exactly what I want – it’s wonderful. I could never have my hard work covered by something that did not represent it properly – I am far too attached to my world and its representation.

Question 9:
I am a HUGE fan of the Gothic Memoir series, and wanted to ask, what is the inspiration behind the story?
The title and concept first came to me when I was 16. At that time, it was more of an autobiographical novel about my life growing up in a Slovak area and my grandmother’s fantastic tales. However, slowly, it began to change. By the time I was finishing college, I decided to change the concept of the series to a fictional novel with an autobiographical tone. In other words, I would put myself in the tales that I dreamt about and bridge the gap between reality and fantasy. I believe this is what is so different about my work from other paranormal fantasy because there is a deep level of believability – nothing is manufactured and I never follow a template or formula.  In my opinion, the work is organic and sincere because it reflects my life experiences, rather than distancing my readers by creating a wall of fantastic fiction. When writing, I chose to engage my fans on a personal level and do that easily and effortlessly through Nadija – she experiences life as a real person, not a work of fiction which is so appealing and refreshing to my audience. I meant for the series to read as a journal, a memoir that allows the reader to engage with Nadija on a very intimate level. You are privy to her thoughts, fears, and doubts enabling the reader to know her so personally; she becomes a close and cherished friend.

I believe when we are stripped naked of all our inhibitions, we are the most honest and beautiful. That is why I chose to write the series in first person. We never have to surmise or assume what Nadija is feeling because we are always inside her head – eager witnesses to her raw and uncensored emotions and thoughts.
Question 10:
What are you working on now?
I am currently writing the 5th book in the series titled, In the Shadows of Eden. This novel goes even deeper into the past as Nadija and Alexei are given their memories back by the Arch Angel Michael. The readers will get to know the main characters in a completely new and more intimate way – if that is even possible to fathom. And again, without spoiling it for future readers, this book really begins to turn the story around because now, we can understand the past, through Nadija and Alexei first hand.  In my opinion, this is the novel that will change and shape the series – it is truly beautiful and utterly romantic.

Question 11:
Rebekah, Thank you so much for stopping by Michelle’s Paranormal Vault of Books today to share your thoughts with us, and answer these questions. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
Thank you for having me, Michelle.  Today is the last day of my $.99 special on Memoirs of a Gothic Soul on Kindle.  I hope everyone will take advantage of this offer to start the series!  Thank you for all of your support!

My Reviews for the previous books are as follows:

Memoirs of a Gothic Soul  My Review | Goodreads
Mariposa My Review Goodreads
Lucifer RisingMy Review |  Goodreads

Find Rebekah at these places:
Sources for Photos Henry Cavil Here, Chris Pine Here, and Jessica Here

Cover Reveal: New Cover for The Promise by Jessica Sorensen. Heading to Stores!

The new Cover for the cover makeover for Jessica Sorensen's Fallen Star series is here. This is the last one I was waiting to show you. 
Cover By Claudia McKinney and Typography and Layout by MaeIDesign (FB Page Here)
Fallen Star New Cover Here | My review
The Underworld New Cover Here | My review
The Vision New Cover Here | My Review

My name is Gemma Lucas and my life’s a mess. Alex is gone, my dad’s trapped in his own mind, and my mom’s working for the dark side. Not to mention Nicholas refuses to quit haunting me.

The world has also entered apocalyptic mode. Everyday more vampires, witches, and fey run the streets. Innocent people are dying. The Mark of Malefiscus is showing up everywhere. And I’m the only one who can stop it.

The only problem is I have to die in order to do so. And I have to let Alex die. Something I’m not sure I can do.

This whole series is going to be in stores very soon, all with these new amazing covers, and some extra revamped content.
You can find Jessica Sorensen At These Places:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday Teasers & Tuesday Intros First Chapter. 10/30

Teaser Tuesday Is a Weekly bookish Meme, Hosted by MitzB of Should Be Reading. 

Anyone can play along.  Just do the following:

 Grab your current read Open to a random page Share 2 (Two) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

   Be Careful, No Spoilers Please (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruing the book for others)    Share title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their tbr list if they like your teaser!Please leave me a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog) Thanks! 

I am almost done with this great book, then will start Tundra 37 the next one in the New Dawn series. Watch for the book tour for these soon.

Teaser 1:

After one last look at the steaming wreckage, she secured the clasps on her pack and took the first steps forward. Her boots sank into the ground as if lead lined the soles. Trudging  through  the sand was cumbersome compared to bouncing along the metal walkways of the New Dawn in light gravity. She felt like a toddler again, flailing her arms as she learned how to balance and stand. Although the increase in gravity and uneven terrain made her body work harder, the stretching of her muscles felt good and oddly natural, as if she’d missed a certain pleasure all her life.Drunk on freedom, she trekked on. A brutal wind hit her face, sending sand particles in her eyes and mouth. Aries coughed and spit on the ground. Her tongue stuck in her mouth like sandpaper.

Teaser 2:

Turning away, he collected his belongings and prepared for the hike home. He’d slid halfway down the dune when a familiar sound sailed on the wind. He froze in mid-step, the sand collapsing around his high boots. Not much fazed him these days, but this call stirred emotions he’d long buried. It was a sound he hadn't heard in years: a human scream.“Damn it to hell.” He had no choice. Humans were damned scarce in the universe, unable to live on most planets. 

I hope you liked those teasers. I got hooked into this book really fast, very interesting, and exciting. Written well too.

Tuesday Intros, First Chapter, First Paragraph

First Chapter First Paragraph - Tuesday Intros Hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea

Every Tuesday I will participate in the Tuesday Intro First Chapter-First Paragraph Intros.
These are books we decided to read based on the first paragraph or so. Then find another “Teaser” in the book somewhere to catch our interest. Leave me a comment with link to your post, and if your a new follower be sure to let me know. I want to be sure to follow back.

Got a good one, I put the Prologue of Gravity, and its good, it will give you a taste. The last few paragraphs are intense, but you would not know what was up without reading the first part. So here it is.

Year: 2133

The T-screen  in our family room crackles just before  President Cartier fills the screen. I wonder  briefly if Lawrence is watching him, too, like the rest of America, or if he was given an advance showing. After  all, the president is his grandfather. I remember the first time I met President Cartier. He was less gray then, less wrinkled. He was joking that Lawrence was too mature for a six- year-old  and asked  me to take  him under  my wing, teach  him how to be young.
Now four  years  later,  staring  into  the T-screen  on one  of the biggest nights of my life, I wish I had some of Lawrence’s maturity. I wish I weren’t so…afraid.
President Cartier smiles widely into the camera  and begins his talk. It’s prerecorded—the same talk given every year to each new group of ten-year-olds. I’m told they used to show the video in class on the first day of school, but so many children left crying that they felt doing it at home was better. I’m not so sure. Right

now, it’s eight o’clock in the evening, which means  I have only four hours until they come—four hours to prepare.
“Ladies  and  gentlemen of our  beloved  nation,” President Cartier begins. “Today  marks  the  first day of your  journey  to adulthood. It is not  to be taken  lightly. But  rest  assured,  your parents and  older  siblings sitting  with you have  endured this same talk. Time has not changed  our process, which, in the very least, should bring you comfort.”
He  smiles again, this time  in that  condescending way that adults do. It’s supposed to reassure us. It doesn’t.
“Parents, please hand over your child’s Taking patch.” Daddy holds out the tiny silver case to me, the silver catching
the light from the composite crystal chandelier above  us. I try to steady my hands as I sit it in my lap, my legs jumping ever so slightly.
“Now, boys and girls, please listen carefully to these instructions, as they will not be repeated.”
The  screen  dims  and  an  image  appears of America just before the fall. A voice-over blasts from the T-screen, explaining all the things I already  know. Power led to the most destructive war in our history—World War IV. The screen  cuts to the full scope of the nuclear war, showing city after city, at first beautiful and strong, and then the bomb hits and there  is nothing  left but rubble  and  smoke  and  sadness.  Our  world, decimated and  no longer able to thrive.
I lower  my eyes  from  the  screen,  hoping  Daddy  doesn’t notice. The commander doesn’t appreciate weakness, even in his daughter, but it saddens  me to think  how far we fell. I lift my

head again and focus back on the screen, anxiously awaiting the important part—the part where the Ancients attacked.
I watch as the screen changes  to the alien crafts arriving in our skies, watch as more  and more  appear until they look like large flocks of birds. There  are too many to count. Too many to defend  against. We now know that  they are older  than  us as a species,  much  older.  Thousands of years  older  than  the  first known existence  of man, though  I’ve often wondered how they know. Did one of them tell us? Is it a guess? Regardless, that is how we now know them as the Ancients. What they were called before, I’m not sure. Though I can imagine the people of the time thought of something more appropriately frightening than alien. “Please  pay  attention, Ari,”  Mom  says, motioning to  the
I clear my throat and nod. I didn’t realize  I was staring  at my patch  case, hard  in my hand. It’s small. Maybe eight inches long  and  four  wide. And  inside…inside  rests  the  single most frightening thing any of us has ever held. Our patch.
The screen  cuts again to the signing of the Treaty  of 2090. The five leaders  of Earth with the Ancient leader, though  there was no Ancient present that  day, or at least not visible to us. I know little to nothing about what they actually are or what they looked like prior to our agreement. I know only what the current Ancient leader looks like and he looks human, though  most say they aren’t really like us. It’s an illusion. Some say they’re made of water. Some say plant. Others say they are no form at all, existing yet not—at least not in the way we do. I’m not sure. Still, there is an empty chair present at the table, as though the Ancient leader sits there, bored, waiting for the meeting to adjourn.

The  screen  zooms  in on  the  treaty,  to  the  six signatures that  agree to our new role. From that  moment on, we were no longer just human beings—we were hosts. We provide them with antibodies through the Taking so they can survive life on Earth, which is the only reason we’re alive. Had their bodies responded to Earth as they had hoped, we would all be gone. Genocide of the  human  species. Instead, they  needed us—and  we needed them. Our  planet  was destroyed, and they alone  possessed  the ability to terraform Earth back to health.  Could  we have done it on our own? Yes, but not before  millions died of dehydration or starvation. We needed an answer quickly. They needed a new planet. And  so the treaty  was signed and we agreed  to follow their rules.
President Cartier returns, another fake  smile  on  his face. “You  now understand our history  and the importance of what you are about to embark upon. Please remove your patches from their cases and let us go through the proper Taking protocol for this evening.”
I slip my hand  over  my patch  case and  pop  the  lid open, exposing  the tiny silver patch  inside. It’s as light as composite silk, as smooth  as water. Two large oval pieces connected by a thin one-inch  piece  of cloth that  goes over the bridge  of your nose.  I lift the  patch  into  my hand  and  hear  a nearly  silent buzzing from it, as though it’s alive—though I know that must be whatever Chemist  technology is within it that  allows the patch to immobilize us.
I run  my thumb  easily over  the  fabric. It doesn’t  look  or feel so scary. Then  President Cartier instructs  us to put on our

patches and I feel my body turn to stone. My eyes widen as they lift to the T-screen.
“Go on, dear,” Mom says from beside me. She pats my knee easily and smiles brightly. “It’s okay.”
“I thought we did it at night?” I say, my voice small.
“We do. This is just a test. It allows you to feel the sensation with us around you. That way you are less afraid. Let me help.” She takes the patch from my hand and starts for my face.
“Wait,” I say, fighting to keep my voice steady. “What’s going to happen? What will I see? How will I get it back off? What if I can’t—”
“It’s okay,” she says again. Then she leans closer to me and I feel my breath catch. I don’t want to do this. Please don’t make me do this.
And  then  the  smooth  cloth  slides  over  my eyes, blinding me. I relax for only a moment, then  the patch  suctions around my eyes as though  laced into the bone, and I feel it against  my temple, pressing, digging in. I want to pull it away. I scream out for Mom to help me and hear  her  say over  and over  that  it’s okay, everything’s okay.
Briefly, I hear  President Cartier’s  voice in the background. He explains the Taking, how our bodies don’t feel the Ancients receiving our antibodies. How our daily supplements guarantee we have plenty. How our assigned Ancient will come into our room  at  midnight  and  how  the  Ancient will Take  for  thirty minutes  before  returning to Loge, their  planet. The patch  then deactivates, he says. I wonder why he’s saying all of this so quickly and then I know.
As though  someone turned off the sound, I can no longer

hear. I strain to find a sound in the silence, but there  is nothing. And then I can no longer feel or smell. My lungs burn and for a moment I’m sure I’m being suffocated. I try to move my arms, to reach for Mom, but they won’t budge. I try to scream out but no words come. Panic sears my mind, and then one by one my senses return. I feel Mom’s hand  gripping  mine  hard,  hear  President Cartier’s voice in the background, but still I can’t see or move.
I know I should be listening. I know I should try to remember what to do and how and when. But all I can think about  is how in four hours I will have to do this all by myself, in the darkness of my room,  waiting, blind  and  immobilized…as one  of them comes for me.
If I could scream…I would.