Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Giveaway and Book Review of Family Magic

Giveaway and Book Review of Family Magic

           Sponsored by Innovative Book Tours

Welcome to Books, Books, and More Books.  I am pleased to share this book with you.  Thank you for visiting and please come again.

Blurb :

Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being ordinary. That my mom baked cookies instead of brewing spells. That my dad lived with us, not on the demon plane. All I ever wanted was to be like everyone else.

I know what you're thinking. You'd die to live in my world. How cool would it be if magic was real and you could do anything?

You have no idea. Here I am in another new town, but it's the same old thing. Cheerleader bullies? How original. Friendless again? Who's surprised? I suck at fitting in. Especially when I'm in the middle of saving my family from total destruction.

My name is Sydlynn Hayle, and that's my life.

Trade you.

About the Author:
 Patti Larsen is an award-winning middle grade and young adult author with a passion for the paranormal. But that sounds so freaking formal, doesn't it? I'm a storyteller who hears teenager's voices so loud I have to write them down. I love sports even though they don't love me. I've dabbled in everything from improv theater to film making and writing TV shows, singing in an all girl band to running my own hair salon.

But always, always, writing books calls me home.

I've had my sights set on world literary domination for a while now. Which means getting my books out there, to you, my darling readers. It's the coolest thing ever, this job of mine, being able to tell stories I love, only to see them all shiny and happy in your hands... thank you for reading.

As for the rest of it, I'm short (permanent), slightly round (changeable) and blonde (for ever and ever). I love to talk one on one about the deepest topics and can't seem to stop seeing the big picture. I happily live on Prince Edward Island, Canada, home to Anne of Green Gables and the most beautiful red beaches in the world, with my very patient husband and four massive cats.
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I lay in bed for a long time, struggling with my thoughts, shying away from taking the real steps I needed to figure out what my problem was. For some reason I probably should have been aware of, I didn’t want to know. I wanted out! Why couldn’t that be enough?
As I sprawled there torturing myself, I heard my door creak and the soft pad of little feet. I watched Meira as she picked her way on tiptoe across my floor and to the end of my bed. She twisted a handful of quilt in her tiny fingers and peered up at me through her silky black bangs, eyes wide and almost completely black in the darkness.
“Are you awake?” She whispered.
“Nope,” I answered. “Come back later.”
Meira giggled. She had the cutest giggle, clean and fresh and genuine. She always made me feel way younger than I was.
I giggled back.
Meira made her way further up the bed, twirling her slender body, her pure white nightgown flaring out at her ankles as she half-danced, half-tiptoed to me. She leaned over the bed and touched my forehead with one little finger, face solemn, eyes glowing in the light from the street outside.
“You are blessed,” she whispered.
I choked on a snort and started writhing on the bed in mock agony.
“No, I can’t take it! Please, don’t make me be like you!”
She crossed her little arms over her chest and smirked at me.
“I’m not that good,” she said.
I grabbed her and dragged her onto the bed. She squealed, covering her mouth with both hands, tears brimming with mirth. I tickled her. She shook her head, lips clenched together, snorting laughter escaping.
“Nasty little ruggers,” I continued the torture, “say it!”
“No!” She tried to whisper. It came out a little louder than she intended. We both laughed, glancing at the partially open door.
“Say it!” I demanded in a whisper when no one came to shush us. “Say uncle!”
Meira giggled silently, her red-tinted face even more crimson from the effort of holding it in. She squiggled and squirmed underneath me, trying to catch her breath.
“Never,” she hissed.
I sat up and whacked her with my pillow. She squealed for real this time. She grabbed one of the decorative throw pillows Mom insisted accompany the stupid chandelier.
“Cheater!” She shrieked, smacking me with the satin monstrosity.
I popped her a good one, sending her tumbling across the bed.
“Brat!” I retorted.
Meira lunged with her pillow, but missed and ended up on the floor. We both froze at the heavy thump. I heard quick steps come to the bottom of the stairs.
“You girls better be in bed,” Mom called up to us.
We giggled.
“If I have to come up there…” The threat was an empty one. She hadn’t come up to stop us in years.
Still, we held silent, as much a part of the game as the rest of it. Finally, Mom’s footsteps retreated back to the kitchen. Meira gazed up at me from the floor and laughed.
I scooped her up and planted her on the bed beside me. She stretched out facing me. I flipped the covers over us. She snuggled into my neck.
“That was fun,” she said.
“So I can blame you if Mom decides to come check on us?”
Meira batted her lashes, Miss Innocence. “She’d never believe it was my fault.”
I didn’t mean to but with everything that happened in the last few hours, I took her words personally.
“Right. Of course. It’s always me screwing up. I forgot.”
I rolled over onto my back, focused fury settling on the stupid pink chandelier. I jumped up, stood on the bed and grabbed onto it. I pulled, but nothing happened. Meira made a noise, something sad and afraid, but I ignored her completely.  Mad, beyond frustrated, I gave it a good yank. The whole thing let go. I hunched on the bed covered in pink crystals, stars, wires and a large chunk of ceiling. I’m surprised my mom didn’t come running, but I guess it wasn’t as noisy as it looked. Dust hovered everywhere. Meira stared at me, tears pouring over her cheeks.
“Syd,” she cried. “I’m sorry! Don’t be mad anymore.”
She covered her little face in her hands and sobbed. The giant heel I turned into reached out and grabbed her. I pulled her into my lap amid the mess I made and hugged her hard.
“It’s okay, Meems, it’s okay,” I rocked her and stroked her hair until she fell quiet. She pushed tears from her cheeks. The fear I saw in her face made me cringe, even though I knew she was less afraid of me and more afraid for me.
“Why don’t you love us anymore, Syd?” Meira went limp against me, her hurt a physical thing that made me want to take everything back.
“It’s not that,” I told her, stroking her hair back from her cute little horns. “Of course I still love you. What’s not to love, huh?”
She slid her hair over her horns to hide them. “That’s not what you said before,” she whispered.
I ran back over the conversation in the basement and winced. Oops.
She sniffled and wiped her nose with her sleeve. “You hate us.”
“No I don’t.”
“You think we’re monsters.”
Oh crap. “Meira, look at me.” I forced her face up and stared her in those huge, demon eyes. “I don’t hate you, okay? Nothing you could ever do would make me hate you. And I don’t think you’re a monster.”
“I have horns,” she whispered. I flinched. How much damage had I done to my little sister? How had she gotten into the middle of my battles with our mother? For the first time I was painfully aware Meira probably suffered way more than Mom and I. She was going to carry our garbage with her for the rest of her life if I didn’t do something about it right then and there.
Finally the endless day ended. I grabbed my remaining belongings from my locker, not willing to leave anything behind. I turned into the crowd to run home and hide under my comforter. Tomorrow was going to be a sick day if I had to make myself ill.
Didn’t I do it again? Ran right smack into Brad. I almost had a heart attack. Set up! My little voice screamed as I scanned the crowd for Alison. What diabolical scheme was this? I backed away from him, feeling like I’d just dropped out of the fire into the burning pit of hell. Brad stepped forward, concern on his face, the half-smile in greeting fading fast.
“Syd?” He reached out one hand. “Are you okay?”
I risked another glance around the crowd for the bitch queen. Still no Alison. Despite her absence, I knew the kids in the hallway watched and listened with every fiber in their being.
“Yeah, thanks,” I ducked my head and tried to dodge him. He wasn’t having any. Brad stopped me by grabbing my arm, not hard.  The touch alone was enough to make me halt and look up.
“I seem to keep running into you,” he said, trying to make a joke of it. “I’m really sorry.”
I blinked, feeling like someone hit me hard. He was sorry? Brad Peters was blaming himself for my inexcusable clumsiness? Seriously? I allowed myself to soften and believe it. After a heartbeat, I toughened up.
Definitely a trap.
“Stop being nice,” I snapped, tired and upset and frustrated after my long day in a very long week, and it was only Tuesday. “I know Alison put you up to this, so you can stop. I get it, consider me punished.”
Brad shook his head, confused. Could it be true he had no idea? No one could be that out of touch. The hallway itself vibrated with tension from me and the other kids in the know.
But nope. He really was clueless. Imagine that.
“I don’t know what Alison told you, Syd,” Brad said, “but she didn’t put me up to anything. I wanted to apologize for yesterday.”
“You shouldn’t be talking to me,” I told him, despite wanting more than anything for him to keep talking to me. Brad Peters was - talking - to - me.
“Why not?” His beautiful eyes crinkled at the corners as he frowned.
“Alison won’t like it,” I said as softly as I could, worried like in magic, names had power. But nope, no wicked witch appeared. Amazing.
“Alison doesn’t tell me who to talk to,” Brad replied. “I’ve actually been wanting to say ‘hi’ for a while.”
I stared at him in open shock, not even aware of the world around me. In that glorious moment, it was just me and him. Any fantasy I imagined on my own couldn’t compare to this.
“Really?” I hated how my voice squeaked a little. “How come?”
Brad laughed. The whole world shone like heaven when Brad laughed.
“No reason. Is that okay?” His green eyes gave me the most delicious shivers. It was almost too much for me to comprehend.
“I guess,” I said. “I just find it a little strange.”
“Why?” His turn to be confused.
“No one else seems to want to get to know me.” As soon as I spoke, I worried I sounded like a whiner. “Small town, hard to meet people, you know?”
He ran one hand through his glossy blonde hair. My insides trembled as my knees went soft.
“Yeah, I get it,” he said. “It must be tough. I grew up here, guess it’s way easier for me.”
“I guess,” I breathed, clinging to the brief instant in time that I, Syd Hayle, was talking to the most popular boy in school because he wanted to say hello. I knew I’d be replaying it over and over when I made it home.
“So maybe we can go get a pizza or something sometime,” Brad said.
And the blessed angels sang Hallelujah. If it kept up much longer, I would need him to hold me up. Which meant he would have to—sigh—touch me and I didn’t know if I would survive it.
In the heartbeat I thought the idea could even possibly come true, reality struck.
Alison finally arrived. I thought I was toast before. The expression on her face could have killed a bird in flight. I spotted her over Brad’s shoulder. I guess my flinching at the thought of what she had planned next must have alerted him something was wrong. By the time he turned around, Alison morphed herself from a she-bitch from hell to perky cheerleader.
“Brad,” Alison slipped one possessive hand through his arm, linking the other over it, a clear and powerful sign of ownership from one girl to another. “I was waiting for you at my locker but you didn’t come.” She formed her perfect bow mouth into an expert pout and gazed up at him through her fluttering eyelashes. I knew she’d been practicing that one in front of the mirror since birth.
“Alison,” Brad looked away from her, actually looked away, and back to me. “I’m talking to Syd.”
Part of me wanted to die because Brad cemented my fate. The other part wanted to die because Brad wanted to have pizza with me. I couldn’t tell which was worse.
There was a certain presence to my father, a weight, a physical feeling to being around him that always made me uncomfortable, especially when the door first opened. I hated to admit it, but I think it made me feel that way because I was afraid it could be me someday traveling between worlds.
Haralthazar took the time to look over us. His chiseled face creased in a soft smile, gentle even, welcoming. Hard to believe, but true. My dad was a nice demon. Forget the whole pit of burning despair thing. Demons simply come from another plane, a different realm of existence. There are good guys and bad guys like here on Earth. Lucky for us, when my Mom decided to go unconventional after the attack leaving her own mother crippled, she fell in love with Dad.
He raised one arm over Mom. She stiffened as the energy rippled out of her in visible strings of light, flowing over the pentagram and back into each of us. I flinched as the thread hit me, out of breath and more than a little dizzy. Dad always gave back more than he took, at least to me.
“My love, well met.” He bent and took my mother’s hand, helping her to her feet. “Miriam, rise and stand with me.”
She took her place beside him. Emotion swirled between them. Dad beamed at us.
“I am well pleased, my friends,” he said. “Our coven grows and is strong. I offer power to the bond and love and protection to you all.”
“Our thanks to you,” the crowd murmured, my voice joining slightly late.
He turned to me.
“Sydlynn Hayle,” he held out one hand, “come to your father.”
This part always made me feel like I was being dissected by all the eyes staring into my back. I despised being the center of attention. There was a definite slouch in my stance as I climbed to my feet and dragged myself unhappily to my parents.
“The first gift of our joining, welcome and my thanks for the sharing of power. With you, our light grows.”
“You bet.” My father frowned for an instant, enough to make me feel like a spoiled rotten little kid. How did he do that? I was happily cynical with my mother but Dad could reduce me to a child with one raised eyebrow. I guess he was mostly a great father and a really good guy and I hated disappointing him.
I drew a breath and tried harder.
“My light to you,” I said, louder.
He smiled secretly. I smiled back as he bent over me and touched his lips to my forehead.
“Hi, cupcake,” he whispered through the official kiss. “How’s soccer going?”
Seriously. Cupcake. “Fine, thanks,” I whispered back. “And you can stop calling me that.”
 He grinned pure evil.
“Whatever you say. Cupcake.”
Ooh. Dads.
“Don’t piss off your mother,” he said.
“Doing my best.” I rolled my eyes.
Dad straightened up and addressed the group.
“This is my child, truly born, a member of this coven. Who speaks against her?”
In the silence that followed, I half-heartedly hoped someone would kick me out.
“All is well,” he said. “Our love to you, Sydlynn Hayle.”
I made a face at him for the whole stupid thing.
“Thanks,” I said. Dad dropped a small wink as I stepped back.
“Meira Hayle, come forward.”
My sister stepped up eagerly. I heard her soft giggle as our father repeated the kiss he gave me. I’d ask her later what he said to make her laugh. Not that I’d ever admit it, but we didn’t get to see our father all that often and I was a bit jealous of her time spent with him.
Dad straightened over her.
“This is my child, truly born, and a member of this coven. Who speaks against her?”
Meira must have said something cute because our dad struggled not to laugh in the silence.
“All is well,” he repeated. “Our love to you, Meira Hayle.”
Meira stepped back, her little hand slipping into mine. She grinned up at me as the ceremony continued.
I tried not to laugh when Gram, up next, planted a wet, sticky one on him. He had the good nature to hug her back and smile at her with real warmth and love. She tottered back to us, so pleased with herself she wriggled like a little girl.
I struggled with a case of the fidgets as the validation process continued but couldn’t help the impatient shift from sneaker to sneaker making its way through my defenses. Witch after witch, male and female alike, professed their undying love and loyalty to our family, etcetera, and so on, ad nausem. It took forever. And to think we had to go through this twice a year. According to Mom, with the dying of the summer at Samhain and its rebirth at Beltane, the connection between our plane and Dad’s was closest. It made the bonding easier and more powerful.
Blah, blah, blah.
The only problem? It was the epitome of boring. Besides, I had homework to do. I could hardly explain to my science teacher I didn’t get my chemistry done because I was helping my coven renew its bond with my demon father. Who knew? Maybe Mr. Sinclair would give me a better mark if he thought I packed that kind of firepower.


Do you remember being in High School?  Do you remember, or were you, the kid that just didn’t quite fit in?  Or maybe the one that tried to fit in just a little too hard?  That would be Meira.  She just wants to be normal, a little difficult for the child of a witch and demon.  If that wasn’t enough, she finds out that she can’t give up her powers in 2 years, at age 18, like she planned.  Turns out her powers may be a little stronger that initially thought.  This could be a problem for Meira, who spent the last 16 years trying her best to avoid magic.

If that’s not enough of a problem for a teenage girl, someone is trying to kill members of her coven, including her family.  Meira may have to learn what being a leader means a little sooner than planned.

This is a delightful novel about the angst of growing up just a little different than everyone else.  The story is charming and the underlying idea that you need to accept yourself for who you are is wonderful.

I give this book 4 out of 5 clouds, and look forward to book 2.

This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

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