Excerpt: TO SLEEP IN A SEA OF STARS by Christopher Paolini

EXCERPT

Cold fear shot through Kira’s gut.

Together, she and Alan scrambled into their clothes. Kira spared a second of thought for her strange dream—everything felt strange at the moment—and then they hurried out of the cabin and rushed over toward Neghar’s quarters.

As they approached, Kira heard hacking: a deep, wet, ripping sound that made her imagine raw flesh going through a shredder. She shuddered.

Neghar was standing in the middle of the hallway with the others gathered around her, doubled over, hands on her knees, coughing so hard Kira could hear her vocal cords fraying. Fizel was next to her, hand on her back. “Keep breathing,” he said. “We’ll get you to sickbay. Jenan! Alan! Grab her arms, help carry her. Quickly now, qu—”

Neghar heaved, and Kira heard a loud, distinct snap from inside the woman’s narrow chest.

Black blood sprayed from Neghar’s mouth, painting the deck in a wide fan.

Marie-Élise shrieked, and several people retched. The fear from Kira’s dream returned, intensified. This was bad. This was dangerous. “We have to go,” she said, and tugged on Alan’s sleeve. But he wasn’t listening.

“Back!” Fizel shouted. “Everyone back! Someone get the Extenuating Circumstances on the horn. Now!”

“Clear the way!” Mendoza bellowed.

More blood sprayed from Neghar’s mouth, and she dropped to one knee. The whites of her eyes were freakishly wide. Her face was crimson, and her throat worked as if she were choking.

“Alan,” said Kira. Too late; he was moving to help Fizel.

She took a step back. Then another. No one noticed; they were all looking at Neghar, trying to figure out what to do while staying out of the way of the blood flying from her mouth.

Kira felt like screaming at them to leave, to run, to escape.

She shook her head and pressed her fists against her mouth, scared blood was going to erupt out of her as well. Her head felt as if it were about to burst, and her skin was crawling with horror: a thousand ants skittering over every centimeter. Her whole body itched with revulsion.

Jenan and Alan tried to lift Neghar back to her feet. She shook her head and gagged. Once. Twice. And then she spat a clot of something onto the deck. It was too dark to be blood. Too liquid to be metal.

Kira dug her fingers into her arm, scrubbing at it as a scream of revulsion threatened to erupt out of her.

Neghar collapsed backwards. Then the clot moved. It twitched like a clump of muscle hit with an electrical current.

People shouted and jumped away. Alan retreated toward Kira, never taking his eyes off the unformed lump.

Kira dry-heaved. She took another step back. Her arm was burning: thin lines of fire squirming across her skin.

She looked down.

Her nails had carved furrows in her flesh, crimson gashes that ended with crumpled strips of skin. And within the furrows, she saw another something twitch.

 

 

 

Kira fell to the floor, screaming. The pain was all-consuming. That much she was aware of. It was the only thing she was aware of.

She arched her back and thrashed, clawing at the floor, desperate to escape the onslaught of agony. She screamed again; she screamed so hard her voice broke and a slick of hot blood coated her throat.

She couldn’t breathe. The pain was too intense. Her skin was burning, and it felt as if her veins were filled with acid and her flesh was tearing itself from her limbs.

Dark shapes blocked the light overhead as people moved around her. Alan’s face appeared next to her. She thrashed again, and she was on her stomach, her cheek pressed flat against the hard surface.

Her body relaxed for a second, and she took a single, gasping breath before going rigid and loosing a silent howl. The muscles of her face cramped with the force of her rictus, and tears leaked from the corners of her eyes.

Hands turned her over. They gripped her arms and legs, holding them in place. It did nothing to stop the pain.

“Kira!”

She forced her eyes open and, with blurry vision, saw Alan and, behind him, Fizel leaning toward her with a hypo. Farther back, Jenan, Yugo, and Seppo were pinning her legs to the floor, while Ivanova and Marie-Élise helped Neghar away from the clot on the deck.

“Kira! Look at me! Look at me!”

She tried to reply, but all she succeeded in doing was uttering a strangled whimper.

Then Fizel pressed the hypo against her shoulder. Whatever he injected didn’t seem to have any effect. Her heels drummed against the floor, and she felt her head slam against the deck, again and again.

“Jesus, someone help her,” Alan cried.

“Watch out!” shouted Seppo. “That thing on the floor is moving! Shi—”

“Sickbay,” said Fizel. “Get her to sickbay. Now! Pick her up. Pick—”

The walls swam around her as they lifted her. Kira felt like she was being strangled. She tried to inhale, but her muscles were too cramped. Red sparks gathered around the edges of her vision as Alan and the others carried her down the hallway. She felt as if she were floating; everything seemed insubstantial except the pain and her fear.

A jolt as they dropped her onto Fizel’s exam table. Her abdomen relaxed for a second, just long enough for Kira to steal a breath before her muscles locked back up.

“Close the door! Keep that thing out!” A thunk as the sickbay pressure lock engaged.

“What’s happening?” said Alan. “Is—”

“Move!” shouted Fizel. Another hypo pressed against Kira’s neck.

As if in response, the pain tripled, something she wouldn’t have believed possible. A low groan escaped her, and she jerked, unable to control the motion. She could feel foam gathering in her mouth, clogging her throat. She gagged and convulsed.

“Shit. Get me an injector. Other drawer. No, other drawer!”

“Doc—”

“Not now!”

“Doc, she isn’t breathing!”

Equipment clattered, and then fingers forced Kira’s jaw apart, and someone jammed a tube into her mouth, down her throat. She gagged again. A moment later, sweet, precious air poured into her lungs, sweeping aside the curtain darkening her vision.

Alan was hovering over her, his face contorted with worry.

Kira tried to talk. But the only sound she could make was an inarticulate groan.

“You’re going to be okay,” said Alan. “Just hold on. Fizel’s going to help you.” He looked as if he were about to cry.

Kira had never been so afraid. Something was wrong inside her, and it was getting worse.

Run, she thought. Run! Get away from here before—

Dark lines shot across her skin: black lightning bolts that twisted and squirmed as if alive. Then they froze in place, and where each one lay, her skin split and tore, like the carapace of a molting insect.

Kira’s fear overflowed, filling her with a feeling of utter and inescapable doom. If she could have screamed, her cry would have reached the stars.

 

Synopsis: A brand new space opera on an epic scale from the New York Times bestselling author of a beloved YA fantasy series.

It was supposed to be a routine research mission on an uncolonized planet. But when xenobiologist Kira Navárez finds an alien relic beneath the surface of the world, the outcome transforms her forever and will alter the course of human history.

Her journey to discover the truth about the alien civilization will thrust her into the wonders and nightmares of first contact, epic space battles for the fate of humankind, and the farthest reaches of the galaxy.

DNF: The Surfer Solution by Cathy Yardley

Synopsis: Allison Robbins needs to relax… or else.

The middle child in a family chock-full of Type A’s, she’s determined to get promoted before she turns thirty. What she doesn’t anticipate: panic attacks that look like heart attacks, just before one of the biggest presentations of her career. Under doctor’s orders Allison has to find a nice, physical hobby.

After a series of unfortunate attempts, she finally settles on the perfect pursuit for a California girl: surfing. She’s even commandeered the services of surf instructor Sean Gilroy — just the guy to teach Allison’s uptight self how to chill. But aside from being unsettlingly cute in a wet suit, Sean seems like the stereotypical surfer: casual, laid-back and entirely certain that things will take care of themselves. In other words, the polar opposite of Allison’s world of stress, coffee and more stress.

Sean Gilroy has never experienced anything like the force of nature that is Allison. Before he knows it, they’re making each other crazy — and making each other hot. But he’s worried that she’s never going to embrace his lifestyle — and that the changes he’d have to make to fit into her life would destroy the core of the person he is.

As he learns to step up, and she learns to hang out, the two of them learn one important thing: sometimes, the last person you expect to fall for is the one person you really need.

Review: I had had this novel for a long time and I wanted to have a good time so I took it out of the back of my TBR pile.

I had already read some good novels by this author and I was curious to see how this one would turn out. However, I have to say that even though I insisted, I couldn’t get hooked on the story or the characters that left me indifferent.

So I preferred to give up.

DNF: Sea sex and Sean de Cathy Yardley

Résumé : Toute Californienne digne de ce nom sait tenir sur une planche de surf. Sauf moi, Allison Robbins ! Le seul truc sur lequel j’ose tester mon équilibre, ce sont mes stilettos. Normal : mon trip c’est plutôt réunions à rallonge et pause café express. Je ne vous raconte pas le stress ! Jusqu’au jour où j’ai eu une crise d’angoisse en plein milieu d’une présentation. Résultat : mon boss m’a mise au repos forcé et mon médecin m’a prescrit… des séances de surf. Rien de tel pour se détendre, a-t-il assuré. Se détendre ? Facile à dire quand le moniteur est un grand blond aux yeux verts et au physique de demi-dieu ! Sean – c’est le prénom du demi-dieu – a beau être ultra zen, il met en surchauffe tous mes capteurs sensoriels. Pas besoin de vous faire un dessin : je suis amoureuse. A votre avis, est-ce que la reine des plannings serrés et des pronostics de résultats, bref une fille comme moi, a des chances d’intéresser un mec aussi cool que Sean ? En tout cas, je tente ma chance !

Avis : J’avais ce roman depuis longtemps été j’avais envie de passer un bon moment donc je l’ai sorti du fin fond de ma PAL.

J’avais déjà lu de bons romans de cette auteure et j’étais curieuse de voir ce que cela donnait. Pourtant, je dois dire que même si j’ai insisté, je n’ai pas réussi à accrocher à l’histoire ni aux personnages qui m’ont laissée indifférente.

J’ai donc préféré abandonner.

Gardien Enchaîné de Florence Cochet

Loren Ascott, Tome 1

Résumé : En plein cœur du Gévaudan, découvrez une enquête surnaturelle pas comme les autres !

Loren Ascott, jeune détective au sein de l’Agence de Recherche Paranormale, a un don pour s’attirer… des ennuis ! Et la nouvelle affaire sur laquelle elle travaille ne va pas faire exception.
Sa mission ? Traquer un esprit en colère dans un château perdu dans les forêts du Gévaudan. A priori, rien de compliqué pour la dynamique parapsychologue, qui en a vu d’autres.
Mais une fois sur place, elle déchante vite. Tout le monde lui cache des informations essentielles, à commencer par cet ouvrier sexy et un peu trop curieux.
Sans compter que les lieux semblent renfermer de terribles secrets, que son nouvel employeur s’est bien gardé d’évoquer.
Loren parviendra-t-elle à vaincre les forces vengeresses qui déferlent sur les occupants du château ?

Avis : Je lis très peu d’urban fantasy français, pourtant, je dois bien dire que le résumé de ce roman et la couverture m’ont tout de suite attirée.

L’auteure nous transporte au sein du Gévaudan, au sein d’un château où se produisent des évènements très étranges. C’est au tour de notre héroïne de s’y rendre afin de découvrir ce qui s’y passe. Pourtant les choses sont loin d’être simples et elles sont même mortelles ! Mais en plus de cela, ce voyage va la forcer à faire face à son passé, à affronter une famille dont elle ne connait finalement pas les secrets.

C’était un roman assez sympa, même si c’est vrai que je n’ai pas accroché à l’histoire autant que je le voulais. Ceci mis à part, j’ai trouvé le cadre vraiment fascinant et j’étais impatiente de voir ce qui se passait exactement et comment notre héroïne allait s’en sortir.

Il y a beaucoup d’idées dans ce premier tome et je suis assez curieuse de voir comment les choses vont évoluer.

Excerpt: TO SLEEP IN A SEA OF STARS by Christopher Paolini

EXCERPT

Cold fear shot through Kira’s gut.

Together, she and Alan scrambled into their clothes. Kira spared a second of thought for her strange dream—everything felt strange at the moment—and then they hurried out of the cabin and rushed over toward Neghar’s quarters.

As they approached, Kira heard hacking: a deep, wet, ripping sound that made her imagine raw flesh going through a shredder. She shuddered.

Neghar was standing in the middle of the hallway with the others gathered around her, doubled over, hands on her knees, coughing so hard Kira could hear her vocal cords fraying. Fizel was next to her, hand on her back. “Keep breathing,” he said. “We’ll get you to sickbay. Jenan! Alan! Grab her arms, help carry her. Quickly now, qu—”

Neghar heaved, and Kira heard a loud, distinct snap from inside the woman’s narrow chest.

Black blood sprayed from Neghar’s mouth, painting the deck in a wide fan.

Marie-Élise shrieked, and several people retched. The fear from Kira’s dream returned, intensified. This was bad. This was dangerous. “We have to go,” she said, and tugged on Alan’s sleeve. But he wasn’t listening.

“Back!” Fizel shouted. “Everyone back! Someone get the Extenuating Circumstances on the horn. Now!”

“Clear the way!” Mendoza bellowed.

More blood sprayed from Neghar’s mouth, and she dropped to one knee. The whites of her eyes were freakishly wide. Her face was crimson, and her throat worked as if she were choking.

“Alan,” said Kira. Too late; he was moving to help Fizel.

She took a step back. Then another. No one noticed; they were all looking at Neghar, trying to figure out what to do while staying out of the way of the blood flying from her mouth.

Kira felt like screaming at them to leave, to run, to escape.

She shook her head and pressed her fists against her mouth, scared blood was going to erupt out of her as well. Her head felt as if it were about to burst, and her skin was crawling with horror: a thousand ants skittering over every centimeter. Her whole body itched with revulsion.

Jenan and Alan tried to lift Neghar back to her feet. She shook her head and gagged. Once. Twice. And then she spat a clot of something onto the deck. It was too dark to be blood. Too liquid to be metal.

 

Synopsis: A brand new space opera on an epic scale from the New York Times bestselling author of a beloved YA fantasy series.

It was supposed to be a routine research mission on an uncolonized planet. But when xenobiologist Kira Navárez finds an alien relic beneath the surface of the world, the outcome transforms her forever and will alter the course of human history.

Her journey to discover the truth about the alien civilization will thrust her into the wonders and nightmares of first contact, epic space battles for the fate of humankind, and the farthest reaches of the galaxy.

Hot Mess by Emma Hart

Synopsis: What do you do when the whole world has seen you getting down and dirty in a broom closet?

I, Elle Evans, am on the run.
Not from the fuzz—although that would be more exciting.
No, I’m on the run from the four-year-old private tape that, thanks to my vengeful ex, has probably already ruined my vlogging career.
There’s nothing like the entire world knowing what you look like mid-O.
Creek Keys, Florida, is a million miles away from NYC and the perfect place for me to hide for the rest of summer until I can figure out what I’m going to do.
Something that’s easier said than done since my new landlord’s daughter thinks you’re God’s greatest gift. Even better? Their beach house is right next to the one I’m renting, so there’s no getting away from her—or her hot, British dad.
Who most definitely does not think I’m role model material.
He might be right.
The problem is that neither of us can say no to her.
Or each other.

Review: With great pleasure, I embarked on this new Emma Hart story and I must say that once again I had a great time.

Elle Evans is a very well-known vlogger and her audience is quite young. But here it is, her ex-boyfriend shared a sex tape she didn’t even know he had. Becoming the new buzz in town, she decides to give it all up and move to a town far away to try to figure things out. But even there, people know who she is and judge her without knowing, starting with the sexy father of the nice Arielle, Theo, who finds himself renting his cottage to her. Yes, because he’s determined to keep his daughter as far away from her as possible.

It was a very nice novel to read and I loved discovering Theo’s aunt who has only one passion, dancing naked on the beach to attract aliens. But of course, I also really liked Elle, Theo and Arielle, but also all the secondary characters that we are lucky enough to discover.

This story was again light and full of humour as we like them with Emma Hart!

 

Hot Mess de Emma Hart (VO)

Résumé (traduction personnelle) : Que faites-vous lorsque le monde entier vous a vu vous faire des choses pas très catholiques dans un placard à balais ?

Moi, Elle Evans, je suis en fuite.

Pas à cause de la police – bien que ce soit plus excitant.

Non, je suis en fuite à cause d’une vidéo privée datant d’il y a quatre ans qui, grâce à mon ex vengeur, a probablement déjà ruiné ma carrière de vlogueuse.

Et voilà que tout le monde entier sait à quoi vous ressemblez au milieu de la nuit.

Creek Keys, en Floride, est à un million de kilomètres de NYC et c’est l’endroit parfait pour me cacher pour le reste de l’été jusqu’à ce que je sache quoi faire.

Plus facile à dire qu’à faire puisque la fille de votre nouveau propriétaire pense que vous êtes le plus beau cadeau de Dieu. Encore mieux ? Leur maison sur la plage est juste à côté de celle que je loue, donc il n’y a pas moyen de s’éloigner d’elle – ou de son père britannique sexy.

Qui estime que je ne suis pas un modèle à suivre pour sa fille.

Il a peut-être raison.

Le problème, c’est qu’aucun de nous ne peut lui dire non.

Ni l’un ni l’autre.

Avis : Avec un très grand plaisir, je me suis lancée dans cette nouvelle histoire d’Emma Hart et je dois dire qu’une fois de plus, j’ai passé un très bon moment.

Elle Evans est une vlogueuse très connue et son public est plutôt jeune. Mais voilà son ex-petit-ami a partagé une sex-tape dont elle ignorait l’existence. Devenue le nouveau buzz en ville, Elle décide de tout abandonner et de partir dans une ville loin de tout ça pour essayer de faire le point. Mais même là, les gens savent qui elle est et la jugent sans savoir, à commencer par le père sexy de la gentille Arielle, Théo, qui se retrouve à lui loué son cottage. Oui, parce qu’il est bien décidé à garder sa fille le plus loin possible d’Elle.

C’était un roman très sympa à lire et j’ai adoré découvrir la tante de Théo qui n’a qu’une passion, danser nue sur la plage pour attirer les extraterrestres. Mais bien sûr, j’ai aussi beaucoup aimé Elle, Théo et Arielle, mais aussi tous les personnages secondaires qu’on a la chance de découvrir.

Cette histoire était à nouveau légère et pleine d’humour comme on les aime avec Emma Hart !