Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Selection Review

So yesterday I started reading (and FINISHED) The Selection by Kiera Cass. For the past year I have been meaning to read and review the book, as the cover is so beautiful and I've heard a fair few people give great reviews and talk about the book in a positive manner, however it seemed that I could never take the time to buy and read the book
However, this time was different.
During a free period yesterday, whilst I was very bored and waiting for the kids at camp to finish their activity, I decide to purchase the book and start it, to see whether I enjoyed it. 
I normally like YA Paranormal Romance, or Dystopian genres, so I was unsure whether this book would be right for me. Whilst it is YA and dystopian (I think), it didn't seem like a typical read for me. But I put aside my doubts and bought it anyway.
And thank the Lord I did. 
The book and author took me on a rollercoaster ride, and I knew from the start that this book was going to be intense, and fantastic (which it OBVIOUSLY was).

Here is the cover and synopsis, for those of you who know nothing about the book.

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Now, unless you are either a total imbecile or just not interested in my blog or the book, or somehow overlook the fact that there is Romance AND Royalty, along with obvious angst and desperation and plot twists just waiting to be discovered, you have to admit that this book is currently sounding pretty good, right?

Believe it or not, it gets better.

So, as always seems to happen in books (twilight, the hunger games) there is ONE girl and TWO boys. Occasionally you'll find a book with ONE boy and TWO girls, but that very rarely happens, and in this case it is indeed one girl and two boys, however one boy is poor and whilst he is America's (the lead girl) first love, the other is a Prince (who I am in love with). There were moments when reading this book when I just wanted to jump into the pages, shake America and say "COME TO YOUR SENSES, MAXON IS PERFECT. If you don't want him, GIVE HIM TO ME" but unfortunately, that is not possible, so I was left feeling nothing but anger and regret for America who was wasting such a golden opportunity to take something that was obviously SO perfect for her.

Bah. Characters.

I will try NOT to spoil the ending, which you wouldn't guess anyway, but as you may have guessed or assumed, America starts to have feelings for Prince Maxon. She originally tells him that she does not want him, she will not and simply CAN not fall in love with him, whilst her heart belongs to another (Aspen, the boy in a lower caste than herself who she was dating secretly for 2 years). Even though he broke her heart, I can understand why she would still have feelings for him, but everything Maxon says and does just makes me want to hug him and be his wife and look after him. 
I think I'M in love.

Anyway, as the story goes on and America gets to know Maxon more, she realises how she does indeed actually have SOME sort of romantic feelings towards him. This quote to me shows the moment when she realises how good he actually is, and how he would be PERFECT and would take care and cherish her, make her his entire world. Now what girl doesn't want that? I know I do.

"Maxon Screave is the epitome of all things good. He is going to be a phenomenal king. He lets girls who are supposed to be wearing dresses wear jeans and doesn't get mad when someone who doesn't know him clearly mislabels him." I gave Gavril a keen look, and he smiled. And behind him, Maxon looked intrigued. "Whoever he marries will be a lucky girl. And whatever happens to me, I will be honored to be his subject."

Kiera Cass is honest to God a genius. I finished The Selection with 3 hours, and then following that, purchased The Elite (the second book in the trilogy) and finished that this morning. I can not WAIT for the third book to come out in 2014- The One.

Kiera Cass, I salute you.

I shall leave you with this quote, which is perhaps my favourite from the entire book. I urge you to buy this book NOW, read it, love it and then TELL me how much you loved it!

"It was a hard question to answer. Would I be willing to live a life I'd never wanted? Would I be willing to watch as he kindly tried to date the others to be sure he wasn't making a mistake? Would I be willing to take on the responsibility that he had as a prince? Would I be willing to love him?
"Yes, Maxon", I whispered. "It's possible."

Monday, 1 July 2013



Ohmydays I can barely breathe.



*dying inside*

The book will be releasing on 8/27/2013 with the Entangled Teen line.


# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

ORIGIN official Blurb:

Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.
After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.  

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on? And will they even be together?


Additional links to Jennifer’s pages:

I for one, can not WAIT to read this book. Need it now.
Hurry up August!!!! <3

Monday, 3 June 2013

What A Beautiful Day with Storm


For those non-english reading this, I guess you'd call it my "final"? I think. It's the last exam I will ever take in History. I've spent 2 years learning, studying and revising for my exam which I finally sat THIS MORNING. 
I don't get another chance. 
No resits, no nothing. 

I am DONE.

I have one more exam (Music) on the 19th of June and then on the 22nd I am flying out to the beautiful country of the United States!
On the note of me coming to America, if any authors/fans/readers/reviewers would like to meet, I would totally be up for a day or 2 of book nerdiness together! 

ANYWAY. Now that school has finished and my exams are basicallly over I am so happy but I don't really know what to do with my life!
I'm excited for my future, and excited that a huge part of my life is over. It's scary, but good. Do you know what I mean?
Maybe this will help.

Yes, that is Rowan Atkinson. For those of you who have seen the Lion King, he plays the annoying dodo bird thingy. 
He's also Mr Bean. And a comical genius!


Storm (Elemental, #1)

Synopsis: Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys; all the ones she doesn't want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They're powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life's at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming.

I am currently on a "boycott of boys", however I would give everything up for one of those guys!
The book is called Storm, and it's written by Bridig Kemmerer.

Now, I have read and finished this book and I LOVED it but I'm sort of confused about it.
I'm not confused about the story line, I'm confused about the next several books. All the books are written in a different perspective, and I don't know how I feel about this.

Through this book, you see the development of the characters Chris, Hunter and Becca. Chris has 3 brothers, who are all dreaaaaaamy.
I don't really want to give a full review at the moment, so this is just a snapshot.
Anyway, once it finished and I was completely in love with Nick (one of the twins that doesn't really get much attention in Storm), I went to buy the second book.
Except once I bought it I realised "this book is not written about Chris or Becca!!".


I was not happy.
But I might give it a chance at some point.

Anyway, I'm saying Ciao for Now and going to watch some lovely TV and drink many cups of tea!

Thursday, 30 May 2013


I need help.
Real help. I am facing one of the biggest decisions in my life.
I can't decide what book to read. I just finished Goddess and then re-read Opal (from the Lux series).
Now it feels like no book will compare to how awesome they were!
Please please PLEASEEEEE comment with book suggestions for me! I love YA books more than anything, especially dystopian/paranormal romance sort of things. As long as there's SOME romance element, but I love fantasy style books too. Cause it allows me to escape from reality.

So PLEASE help, cause I am currently like this.

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So bye for now, help me!

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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Wednesday Wonder!

So I've decided to start a Wednesday Wonder post, where I talk about the book I'm reading, why I love it and some of my FAVOURITE quotes from the book so far!

Do you think this is a good idea?

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I hope you ALL know who Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) is, and you have seen the wonderous British TV show. If not, go watch it on Netflix. It is seriously ahmayzing.

This is my first WW post EVER, so I thought it should be about a book i've been waiting MONTHS for. MONTHS!
I felt like Sirius Black after he'd escaped from Azkaban.
And the worst thing was that when it came out on Friday, I didn't have enough money to buy it. 
And this is exactly how I feel.

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And that book was......
GODDESS by Josephine Angelini, a Goddess herself!

I love that cover. It's so goshdarn beautiful. It's the English one and I honestly prefer it to the American one, maybe because it's slightly brighter? Who knows.

UKShe must rise, or they will fall ...Helen's powers are increasing--and so is the distance between her and her mortal friends. To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a dangerous traitor is lurking among them, and all fingers point to Orion. Still unsure whether she loves him or Lucas, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, or risk all-out war. The final book in this heart-stopping trilogy.
US: After accidentally unleashing the gods from their captivity on Olympus, Helen must find a way to re-imprison them without starting a devastating war. But the gods are angry, and their thirst for blood already has a body count.
To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a diabolical Tyrant is lurking among them, which drives a wedge between the once-solid group of friends. As the gods use the Scions against one another, Lucas’s life hangs in the balance. Still unsure whether she loves him or Orion, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, for war is coming to her shores.
In Josephine Angelini’s compelling conclusion to the masterfully woven Starcrossed trilogy, a goddess must rise above it all to change a destiny that’s been written in the stars. With worlds built just as fast as they crumble, love and war collide in an all-out battle that will leave no question unanswered and no heart untouched.

Come on, how awesome does this book sound? And I can admit to you that yes, this book is INDEED awesome. I am 67% through the book, and thus do not yet know the ending. But I'm hoping for so much goodness to happen.

I love this book especially because of the historical context it has. It shows Helen in her past lives, as Scions (Demi-Gods) have multiple lives, and are born again in another life or several. This one is awesome because it has Guinevere and Arthur and Lancelot.
I've ALWAYS loved Greek Mythology, and this series is heavily based on Helen of Troy: "the face that launched a thousand ships".  Helen- the main character- is pretty much based after her, as Troy-Helen's face is passed down through the House of  Atreus after the curse/fate cast by Aphrodite (Helen of Troy's sister).
Bit of mythology for you there.
This is actually in the story, why there was a curse/fate cast by Aphrodite, and it's basically an intricate weave of love story.
It's awesome!

I'm a sucker for a good love story, and if any of you have read the other books, you'll know how complex and ANNOYING this one can be at times. My favourite quote to show that no matter what gets in the way, Helen will always love Lucas, is this paragraph:

"It's not that Helen forgot Hades's promise that the Fates would bring her to this. Nor did she forget his warning that as soon as she created her own world the gods would challenge her for it. She just didn't care. She'd build a whole new universe from scratch and send all of Olympus to Tartarus if she had to- anything, anything at all, to fix Lucas."

Come on.
How ridiculously AWESOME does that sound?! 

That's all for now folks, but I highly recommend you go read Starcrossed. 
Awesome doesn't cover it.


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Luxen Army!

Okay so I'm about to go all "ohmygod" and freak out again over the awesomeness of Jennifer Genius Armentrout. 
Btw that ISN'T actually her real middle name, but it totally should be. I love her. She's my girl author crush. She should be everyones crush, and if you don't like her well you're an idiot.
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Nah I love you all, I promise I won't think you're a moron if you don't like her (even though you are).
But in all seriousness, she is my number 1 author EVER. If I could meet anyone in the world, i'd choose her, or the Queen. Because how cool would it be to meet the Queen?!

ANYWAY, I recently became a Commanding General of the Luxen Army, and head of the UK branch

(Because I am just that awesome.)

This was my exact reaction
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For any of you that don't know what on earth i'm talking about when I say Luxen Army, then I look down from my perch up high and shake my head distastefully.
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Dishonour to you and your family. 

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I joke.

The Luxen Army is from the unbelievably ahmayzing Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout. There are 3 books so far: Obsidian, Onyx and Opal.

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Obsidian is the first and in my opinion the best. Even though Daemon is a total JACKASS (that's not really a spoiler as you find that out in the first chapter!)
But he's a freakin hot jackass, in the most addictive series ever written by anybody in the history of anything. As in, forget your kids, refuse to eat, do no cleaning, see no man UNTIL you've finished reading these books.
The 4th one, Origin (WHICH IS STILL COVERLESS) Is out in August. I am COUNTING down the days. The last one finished on a cliffhanger, and I am trying not to die waiting for Origin. I love Katy so much, she just seems like such a feisty, attractive, funny, sassy, sparky girl. Man, Jennifer, why did you make her so perfect?
And don't get me started on Daemon. Ohmygazeebus, I would trade my unborn child for Daemon. I am only 18 and not even in a relationship, and I am DEFINITELY not pregnant, but I would sign a contract to say the Jennifer Armentrout or Hades could have my first child if I could have Daemon, even for a day. But if I had him for a day, i'd make sure he could never leave. I'd lock him up in the cupboard under my stairs like Harry Potter to keep him safe in my house. Heck, I'd lock myself in the cupboard with him!

Back to Origin.

This is 100% what I WILL be doing on August 27th.

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Counting down the days. I want the book. I NEED the book.
I'm trying so hard not to give away any spoilers, but My Luxen Lordy I want to.

Anyway, yes. Luxen Army. We are currently in the process of finishing off a Luxen Army website! There are 4 of us generals, and we are all unbelievably amazing. We're the best people ever.
Sort of like Barney from How I Met Your Mother, but more awesome and ALL girls.

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So we have both a facebook GROUP and a facebook PAGE.

ALSO PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go give some love to Jennifer Armentrout.
She seriously is the best person in the entire world.

I will keep you all updated on Luxen Army biz-shizz (remind me to never say that again) but until then, continue reading, and if you haven't read the Lux series?
Ciao for now, betches :)
Much love. x

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Wednesday, 22 May 2013


Title: Branded
Author: Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki
Release Date: June 28, 2013
Genre: Mature Young Adult, Dystopian
Reveal Host: Lady Amber's Tours

Book Description:
Twenty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

Author Bios:

Abi Ketner Is a registered nurse with a passion for novels, the beaches of St. John, and her Philadelphia Phillies. A talented singer, Abi loves to go running and spend lots of time with her family. She currently resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband, triplet daughters and two very spoiled dogs.

Melissa Kalicicki received her bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in 2003. She married, had two boys and currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Aside from reading and writing, her interests include running and mixed martial arts. She also remains an avid Cleveland sports fan.

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

website and blog

Chapter One
I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams.
The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down on it, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough.
My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back.
Death and I glare at each other through my tears.
I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here.
I’m ready to go. On the count of three.
I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now.
A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand, waiting with the rope around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls.
Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head.
Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home.
It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me.
My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name.
 On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder.
Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder.
“Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners.
Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying.
Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now.
My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest.
Gotta keep going.
“Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me.
I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m lost.
     My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell soon leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners.
I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black, leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m trapped.
Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard them dragging someone else away that I’d join them.
“You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave our society.”
I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them even as I shiver with fear.
“There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this will be for everyone,” a guard says.
I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or care.
The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my shoulders digging into their arms. The handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts. My dignity is all I have left.
Swallowing hard, I stare ahead to avoid their eyes.
Did they need so many guards to capture me?
 I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense. High Society frowns on activities like that.
The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass and the air grows warmer, more humid, the farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole. Twenty-foot cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in twelfth grade.
To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does.
“All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want to think about the things I’ve been told.
“You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a strand of my hair up to his face.
 Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him.
     They’re the Guards of the Commander. They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole.
Few have seen the commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but an accusation.
I lose myself in thoughts of my father.
“Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it against you.” His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be strong. That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one person in my life who provided unconditional love.
The vehicle stops, and I’m jerked back to reality. “Get out,” the guard orders while pulling me to my feet. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness.
The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove me in line and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white in fear. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip.
 I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying.
“Spread your legs,” one of the guards says.
They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body.
What do they think I could possibly be hiding? I press my head into the wall, trying to block out what they’re doing to me.
“MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up.
Five of us sit in the holding room. One by one, they pull people into the next room, forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. An agonizing amount of time passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens.
“Lexi Hamilton.”
A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. As soon as the door closes, they pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. Then, they exit in procession, and I lie on the table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks.
“Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.”
A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places a metal collar around my neck.
Click. Click. Click.
The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I focus on the painted black words above me.

The Seven Deadly Sins:
Lust ¾ Blue
Gluttony ¾ Orange
Greed ¾ Yellow
Sloth ¾ Light Blue
Wrath ¾ Red
Envy ¾ Green
Pride ¾ Purple

 “Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.”
Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks.
“GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar.
He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out.
Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual.
I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor.
“Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire from my neck to my jaw, making me wince.
He points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my new clothes, I pull the shirt over my head and try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name.
“Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says.
I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his hand.
“Give it to me,” he says. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg.
 “My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me.
“It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand. “Lexi, you’re exactly like her. She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.
You can overcome anything… short of death.
 “You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?”
A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist.
“Look at me,” he commands. I look up and he smiles with arrogance.
“What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?”
“Nothing,” I respond, confused.
“What color are they?”
“Turquoise.” I glower at him.
“Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.”
Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can't take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand.
“Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside.
“You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail. My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead into the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk.
 “Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice.
“Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute.
“Let’s move,” Cole says.
I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.