Thursday, 28 November 2013

Booking Through Thursday 28/11/13

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Booking Through Thursday and a different question is posted every week.

Do you have a reading equivalent of holiday music to get you in the mood for the holiday season? Any books you make a point of reading this time of year?
(And, Happy Thanksgiving to all the rest of you in the US!)

I wouldn't say there's any specific books that I pick up and re-read this time of year, because I don't always re-read books.
I like to try and read at least one Christmas themed book- christmas romance or something, but it's not always possible because I won't buy a book just because it has christmas in the title for example.  This year I want to try and read Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myrcle and Catching Snowflakes by Nora Roberts.
I do like to read quick, light, fluffy reads that I don't have to think too much about in December because obviously it's a hectic month but I still want to read.
I tend to gravitate towards contemporay or historical romance reads.


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

W...W...W...Wednesdays 27/11/13

To play along, just answer the following 3 questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I'm currently reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling.

I recently finished reading Substitute Creature by Charles Gilman.  It was the book I read before my current read.

I always seem to change my mind when it comes to what I want to read next.  But as it stands at the moment, I plan to read either Hyperbole and a half by Allie Brosh or Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Teaser Tuesday 26/11/13

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week I'm currently reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.

My two teaser sentences are from the random page 140.

1.)"Harry looked away.  He would willingly have split all the money in his Gringotts vault with the Weasley's, but he knew they would never take it."

2.)"Pigwidgeon was choking on an overlarge Owl Treat."


Friday, 22 November 2013

Book Haul/In My Mailbox 22/11/13

Warrior's Lady by Gerri Russell

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 413 KB
Print Length: 305 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0843961112
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
Language: English

Camden Lockhart vowed to eliminate the Ruthven clan after they had destroyed his family. All he had left was a small niece and the legacy of the Charm Stone she carried, but no one knew where the little girl was.

Rhiannon Ruthven came to the abbey to escape the brutality of her brothers and find solace. Instead she found the orphaned Violet Lockhart in need of an escort to her uncle's castle. Rhiannon didn't know it, but she would be walking straight into a nest of assassins.

Watching Rhiannon nearly sacrifice her own life to save another's, Camden knew he could not condemn her to death. He'd have to protect her from the very men he'd hired to kill her. Scottish legend said the Charm Stone had the power to heal, but was it strong enough to unite two wounded hearts?

Cover:  I prefer the original cover.  This one is ok, but just not as good.

This is one I've wanted to read for ages.  I came across it about 3 years ago when all I was wanting to read was historical romance.  Something about it really hooked me, but I could never find a copy.  Then I stumbled across it on Kindle, and so finally got my hands on it.
It is book 3 in a series, but I haven't read the other books- they work as stand alones.
There's not an awful lot to say about it.
It's a cute, fluffy, light romance read.
I really liked Rhiannon- and how she has to face her family's legacy of evil, and everyone thinking she's like them, when she's not.
Cam...was ok...he wasn't swoonworthy though.
Over all I really enjoyed it, and was the perfect was to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.
3.5/5 stars.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Booking Through Thursday 21/11/13

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Booking Through Thursday and a different question is posted every week.

This week's question is:

"Outside of books, what’s your favorite thing to read? Newspapers? Magazines? Blogs? Fanfiction? Specific websites?"

I don't tend to read much other than books.  Out of everything I would say book blogs or reviews/blurbs on Goodreads, both of which fuel my book obsession.
I occasionally will read a story in the newspaper if it grabs my interest, but tend to read the news online.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Waiting On Wednesday 20/11/13

Waiting on Wednesday is all about sharing the books that I'm eagerly waiting to be released.

It's been a good long while since I posted a Waiting On Wednesday, but I'm trying to get back into the habit of it, even if it's not weekly, I want to post this meme more regularly.

So, without further ado, this week the book I'm waiting on is, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Released December 10th

Synopsis from Goodreads.

Not gonna lie, the cover is a BIG draw for me.  Really caught my eye.
Also, I'm a sucker for romance.  Romance is also a big draw for me, and this sounds like it has the star-crossed lovers thing going on, plus with it being set in a science fiction/fantasy/perhaps dystopian world, it definitely looks intriguing.
I also like that the series are going to be made up of companion novels instead of sequels.
I'm really excited for this one, and have it pre-ordered :)


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Rule by Jay Crownover

ARC Received for review
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Harper (24 Oct 2013)
ISBN-10: 0007536291
ISBN-13: 978-0007536290
Marked Men #1

Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters 

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want—and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess—and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw—even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.

Cover: A pretty decent, relevant cover with a cover model that could maybe just pass as Rule Archer.
As you know, I've been really enjoying the New Adult genre.  And this is one that has popped up a fair bit on Goodreads, so I knew I wanted to check it out.  Bad boy.  Good girl.  Tattoos.  Yeah I so needed to read this.

Shaw and Rule don't see eye to eye.  She drags him to lunch at his parents every Sunday.  She became part of their family when Remy (Rule's twin) brought her home one day when she was 14.
Everyone thought they were a couple, but they never were.  She fell in love with Rule the moment she saw him.  But he's always been oblivious.
Until one night when he sees Shaw looking completely different...
Ahhh.  I loved this book.  It's really hard to write a review, because I just feel like raving. 
This is my first book by Jay Crownover- but it definitely won't be my last.  I'm excited to continue this series.
I loved Rule and Shaw together.  Their chemistry was fantastic- and you just wanted everything to work out for them.  You know I'm a self confessed romance addict- and so I fell head over heels for this one.  It wasn't a typical hearts-and-flowers-romance, but it was raw, and it worked.
I felt the threat element with Shaw's ex could have been built on a little more.  It felt a tad anti-climatic.
If you love your bad boys, you're going to want to check this one out!
4.5/5 stars.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Edge of Never by J.A Redmerski

Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Harper (4 July 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0007523181

Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett thought she knew exactly where her life was going. But after a wild night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she shocks everyone-including herself-when she decides to leave the only life she's ever known and set out on her own. Grabbing her purse and her cell phone, Camryn boards a Greyhound bus ready to find herself. Instead, she finds Andrew Parrish.

Sexy and exciting, Andrew lives life like there is no tomorrow. He persuades Camryn to do things she never thought she would and shows her how to give in to her deepest, most forbidden desires. Soon he becomes the center of her daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But there is more to Andrew than Camryn realizes. Will his secret push them inseparably together-or destroy them forever?

Cover: I neither love or hate this cover.  I did appreciate that the female protagonist Camryn is described throughout as wearing her hair in a braid over her shoulder and that matching the cover model is a nice touch.

I've seen this book all over Goodreads, and New Adut has become a new favourite genre.  And this one has received a slew of amazing reviews, so I was really excited to finally get and read it.
I didn't hate it, but I feel it was overly hyped.
I didn't particularly warm to Camryn's character.  Her slut shaming attitude got irritating.
Andrew- I liked him a bit more, but he was definitely not a swoon worthy NA hero, like, say Cam from Jennifer L. Armentout's Wait For You.
The whole meeting on a bus, and then road tripping together was a great premise, but it wasn't exciting as it sounded.
Andrew basically lies to Camryn for the whole book.
I feel the author tried to make her characters much deeper than they actually were.  She gave them this incredible sense of wonderlust - but I don't think it came off well at all.

“When I could hold my eyes open long enough, I did stare up at the rain pelting down on me. I’ve never looked at it like that, straight up into the sky, and while I flinched more than I could actually see, when I could see it was absolutely beautiful. Like each drop rocketing towards me was separate from the thousands of others and for a suspended moment in time, I could glimpse it and see its delicate facets. I saw the gray clouds churning above me and felt the car shake when the wind from the traffic pushed against it. I shivered even though it’s warm enough to swim. But nothing I saw or felt or heard was as warm and fascinating as Andrew’s closeness.” 
I just didn't find myself overly moved by this attempt at poetic souls.
The whole grief process was truly messed up in this book.
Over all I felt the premise of a grest NA novel was there, but it just didn't materialise.
3/5 stars.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

[BOOK BLITZ] Knowing You by Allie Everhart EXCERPTS


Jade #2                                                Now that Garret’s decided he’s no longer following the rules of his wealthy family, he can finally develop a closer relationship with Jade. Things are going well, but Jade still worries that being with Garret is only temporary. And because of that, she’s not sure how much of herself and her past she’s willing to let him see.
Garret does all he can to assure Jade that the two of them can last, but convincing her of that is difficult when she’s never trusted anyone. So he has to show her, by being there when she needs him the most, even when she tries to keep him away.
The mysterious letter from Jade’s mom still haunts her and now she’s getting threatening phone calls. Someone from Jade’s past will stop at nothing to keep his secrets from getting out. And his number one secret is Jade.

Knowing You (Jade #2) - Excerpt 1
Garret swims over and stands up right behind me, placing his hands on the edge of the pool around my head. He’s so close I can feel his warm breath on my neck and it sends a shiver down me.
“When are you gonna admit I’m a better swimmer than you?” 
“Never.” I flip around and let go of the pool, quickly grabbing his shoulders so I don’t sink since I’m too short to touch the bottom. But now my legs are dangling awkwardly and I’m having a hard time holding myself up. Garret notices and casually puts his arms around me, pulling our bodies together. 
My heart is beating wildly but I try to keep my breath steady to hide it. “When are you gonna admit I’m a better runner than you?” 
“I’ve already admitted that. I’ve told you that several times. I’ll say it again. You’re a better runner than me. Now do you have anything to say to me?”
“Hmm.” I pretend to think. “Nope. Nothing.”
He smiles. “You just can’t give me a compliment, can you?”
“I give you compliments all the time!” I wrap my legs around his waist. He doesn’t even react. 
“Like what? Because if you gave me one, I totally missed it.”
“I don’t know, but I’m sure I’ve given you one.”
“I’m sure you haven’t.” He keeps his eyes on mine, barely blinking.
“I told you how much I liked those lights you gave me for my birthday. That was kind of a compliment.”
“Not really.” He slides his hands down under my thighs, supporting my weight. It allows me to loosen my grip on his shoulders but it also makes me completely breathless. “Jade, is there anything I do that you like? Anything you think I’m good at?”
I know what he’s implying and yes, there are many things he does that I like. And he’s definitely good at them. Like the way he’s holding me right now? Definitely good. 
Before I can speak, he slowly licks the water from my lips until they part, then slips his tongue in my mouth. I wrap my hands behind his neck as his tongue explores my mouth in a way that gets my body so scorching hot that even the water can’t cool me down. 
After a few incredible, mind-blowing minutes, he slowly pulls away. 
“Do you like it when I do that?” There’s that cocky smile I know and love. 
I smile back. “I’ll admit you’re pretty good at that.”
“Finally! A compliment.” He lets me go, forcing me to grab the edge of the pool. He sets himself up in the lane next to me like he’s preparing to swim laps.
“Hey, where are you going?”
“I have to practice.”
“So we’re just done here?”
“We haven’t even been on a date. I was only kissing you because I was trying to find something you thought I was good at. And I did. So we’re done.”
He takes off swimming, leaving me wanting more. Much, much more.
Knowing You (Jade #2) - Excerpt 2
“I don’t know what I was thinking letting you plan our date," Garret says. "You probably would’ve picked that taco stand for dinner if I let you.”
“Nah. Probably the burger joint by the dry cleaners.”
“That place is just as disgusting. Well, that confirms it. I’ll be planning the dates from here on out.”
“I still haven’t agreed to go out with you again.”
He nudges my foot under the table and smiles. “You will.”
Our food arrives. Just as we start to eat, a mariachi band stops by our table singing some type of love song. It makes me laugh, not just because of the song but because they’re not very good. The main singer is way off key. I try to hide my laughter because the guy is really trying hard. 
Garret sees me struggling. He sets his fork down, then reaches over and holds the hand I’m not eating with and gazes into my eyes. The mariachi guys notice and assume their music has caused Garret’s romantic gesture. The bad singer nods at Garret and gets a huge grin on his face, singing even louder. 
I’m practically in tears trying to keep from laughing. I give Garret a look to cut it out, but he’s enjoying this way too much. He picks my hand up and kisses it. 
Finally, the song ends. Garret takes some money from his wallet and gives it the guy. 
“Muchas gracias,” the singer says. He points to me. “Beautiful girl. You two are a lovely couple.”
“We are, aren’t we?” Garret says, smiling at me, then back at the singer.
“You two get married some day. I sing at your wedding.” He reaches in his pocket and pulls out a business card. 
“Thank you.” Garret takes the card, then looks at me. “Jade, he could sing at our wedding. Wouldn’t that be great?”
I kick his foot under the table. “Um, yeah. Great.” I turn to the singer. “Thanks again. It was very nice music.”
The guy nods and moves on to another table. Garret releases my hand and goes back to eating like the whole scene didn’t even happen.
“Did you have to do that?” I ask him. “You knew I was dying over here. They would’ve left if you hadn’t started that hand holding crap.”
He shrugs. “I didn’t want them to leave. I was enjoying it.”
“They were horrible! That guy was way off key.” I take a bite of my taco.
“He did better than I would do. I didn’t think he was that bad. And you must’ve liked him at least a little. You agreed to let him sing at our wedding.” 
I almost choke when he says it. I take a big gulp of my soda. He continues to eat as if his wedding comment is perfectly normal and expected. “We’re on a first date here, Garret. I think it’s a little early to plan a wedding.”
“I guess. Then maybe he could sing at our graduation party.”
“Four years from now, I don’t think he’ll still be employed as a singer.” 
I hear the guy belting out a new song at a table on the other side of the restaurant. He’s so horrible. Now that they’re gone, I’m finally able to laugh.
Garret shakes his head, but he’s laughing, too. “You’re so mean. At least he’s trying.”
“I’m sorry. I can’t help it. He’s just so bad.”
For the rest of dinner, I keep thinking about Garret’s wedding comment. He couldn’t possibly be even the tiniest bit serious. We’ve only known each other a few months and we technically weren’t even dating during those months.
He was probably just making a joke. But still, hearing Garret even mention the idea of marrying me makes those annoying butterflies that have now taken up permanent residence in my stomach flutter with happiness. Which only makes me wonder what this boy is doing to me. 
I’m Jade, the sarcastic, independent, smart ass who has no interest in marriage or weddings or rings or any of that stuff. 
And yet my stupid heart skips a stupid beat when that stupid boy tosses out the idea that someday he might marry me.




Tuesday, 12 November 2013

READ The First Two Chapters of "The Edge of Always by J.A Redmerski"

A few months ago, when I was laid up in that hospital bed, I didn’t think I’d be alive today much less be expecting a baby and engaged to an angel with a dirty mouth. But here am. Here we are, Camryn and me, taking on the world . . .in a different way. Things didn’t quite turn out how we planned them, but then again, things rarely do. And neither of us would change the way they turned out even if we could.
I love this chair. It was my dad’s favorite chair, and the one thing he left behind that I wanted. Sure, I inherited a fat check that will set Camryn and me up for a while, and of course I got the Chevelle, but the chair was equally sentimental to me. She hates it, but she won’t say so out loud, because it was my dad’s. I can’t blame her; it’s old, it stinks, and there’s a hole in the cushion from my dad’s cigarette smoking days. I promised her I’d get someone in here to clean it, at least. And I will. As soon as she figures out whether we’re going to stay in Galveston or move to North Carolina. I’m fine with either, but something tells me she’s holding back on what she really wants, because of me.
I hear the water from the shower shut off, and seconds later a loud bang vibrates through the wall. I jump up from the chair, letting the remote control hit the floor as I rush toward the bathroom. The edge of the coffee table clips the shit outta my shin as I pass.
I swing open the bathroom door. “What happened?”
Camryn shakes her head at me and smiles as she leans over to pick the hair dryer up from the floor beside the toilet.
I breathe a sigh of relief.
“You’re more paranoid than I am,” she laughs.
She glances down at my leg as I rub it with my fingertips. She sets the hair dryer back on the counter, comes up to me, and kisses the side of my mouth. “Looks like I’m not the one of us who needs to worry about being accidentprone.”
She smiles.  My hands cup her shoulders and I pull her closer, letting one hand fall down to touch her little rounded belly. I can barely tell she’s pregnant. At four months I thought she’d at least be emulating a baby hippo, but what do I know about this stuff?
“Maybe so,” I say, trying to hide the red in my face. “You probably did that on purpose just to see how fast I could get in here.”
She kisses the other side of my mouth and then goes in for the kill, kissing me fully and deeply while pressing her wet, naked body against mine. I moan against her mouth, wrapping my arms around her.
But then I pull away before I fall into her devious trap.
“Dammit, woman, you’ve gotta stop that.”
She grins back at me. “You really want me to stop?” she asks with that up-to-no-good smile of hers.
It scares the shit out of me when she does that. Once after a conversation laced with that smile, she stopped having sex with me for three whole days. Worst three days of my life.
“Well, no,” I say nervously. “I just mean right now. We have exactly thirty minutes before we have to be at the doctor’s office.”
I just hope she’s this horny throughout her entire pregnancy.
I’ve heard horror stories about how some women go from wanting it all the time until they get really big and then if you touch them they turn into fire-breathing
Thirty minutes. Damn. I could bend her over the counter real quick . . .
Camryn smiles sweetly and jerks the towel from the shower curtain rod and starts drying off. “I’ll be ready in Ten,” she says as she waves me out. “Don’t forget to water Georgia. Did you find your phone?”
“Not yet,” I say as I start to ease my way out the door, but then I stop and add with a sexually suggestive grin,
“Ummm, we could—”
She shuts the door in my face. I just walk off laughing.  I rush around the apartment, searching under cushions and in odd places for my keys and finally finding them hiding underneath a stack of junk mail on the kitchen counter. I stop for a moment and take a particular piece of mail into my fingers. Camryn won’t let me throw it away, because it was the one she looked at when giving the 911 operator my address the morning I had that seizure in front of her.
I guess she feels like that piece of paper helped save my life, but really what it did was help her eventually understand what was going on with me. The seizure was harmless. I’ve had several. Hell, I had one when we were staying in the hotel in New Orleans before we started sharing a room.
When I finally told her about that later, needless to say, she was not happy with me.
She worries all the time that the tumor will come back.
I think she worries about it more than I do.  If it does, it does. We’ll get through it together. We’ll always get through everything together.
“Time to go, babe!” I yell from the living room.
She comes out of our room dressed in a rather tight pair of jeans and an equally tight T-shirt. And heels.
Really? Heels?
“You’re going to squeeze her little head in those jeans,” I say.
“No, I’m not going to squeeze her or his head,” she counters as she grabs her purse from the couch and shoulders it.
“You’re so sure of yourself, but we’ll see.” She takes my and and I walk her out the door, flipping the lock on the knob before I close it hard behind us.
“I know it’s a girl,” I say confidently.
“Care to wager?” She looks over at me and grins.We step out into the mild November air, and I open the car door for her, gesturing inside with my palm up. “What kind of bet?” I ask. “You know I’m all for betting.”
Camryn slides onto the seat, and I jog around to my side and get in. Resting my wrists on the top of the steering wheel, I look over at her and wait.
She smiles and chews gently on the inside of her bottom lip in thought for a moment. Her long blonde hair tumbles down over both shoulders, and her blue eyes shine with excitement.
“You’re the one who seems so sure,” she finally says. “So, you name the bet and I’ll either agree to it or I won’t.” She stops abruptly and points her finger sternly at me. “But nothing sexual. I think you pretty much have that area covered. Think of something . . .” she whirls her hand around in front of her
“. . . I don’t know . . . daring or meaningful.”
Hmmm. I’m officially stumped. I slide the key in the ignition, but pause before turning it.
“OK, if it’s a girl, then I get to name her,” I say with a soft, proud smile.
Her eyebrows twitch a little and she turns her chin at an angle. “I don’t like that bet. That’s something both of us should take part in, don’t you think?”
“Well, yeah, but don’t you trust me?”
She hesitates. “Yes . . . I trust you, but—”
“—but not with a baby name.” I raise an eyebrow interrogatively at her, but really I’m just messing with her head.
She can’t look me in the eyes anymore, and she appears uncomfortable.
“Well?” I urge her.
Camryn crosses her arms and says, “What name did you have in mind, exactly?”
“What makes you think I already have one picked out?”
I turn the key and the Chevelle purrs to life.
She smirks at me, cocking her head to one side. “Oh, please. You obviously have one picked out already, or you wouldn’t be so sure it’s a girl and making bets with me when we have an ultrasound to get to.”
I look away, grinning, and put the car into reverse.
“Lily,” I say and just barely catch Camryn’s eye as we back out of the parking space. “Lily Marybeth Parrish.”
A little smile tugs the corners of her lips.
“I actually like that,” she says, and her smile gets bigger and bigger. “I admit, I was slightly worried—why Lily?”
“No reason. I just like it.”
She doesn’t seem convinced. She playfully narrows hereyes at me.
“I’m serious!” I say, laughing gently. “I’ve been going over names in my head since the day after you told me.”
Camryn’s smile warms, and if I wasn’t such a guy, I’d cave to the moment and allow myself to blush like an idiot.
“You’ve been thinking of names all this time?” She seems happily surprised.
OK, so I blush anyway.
“Yeah,” I admit. “Haven’t thought of a good boy name yet, but we’ve got several months to think about it.”
Camryn is just looking at me, beaming. I don’t know what’s going on inside her head, but I realize my face is getting redder the longer she stares at me like that.
What?” I ask and let out a laugh.
She leans across the seat and raises her hand to my face, her fingertips pulling my chin to the side. And then she kisses me.
“God, I love you,” she whispers.
It takes a second to realize I’m grinning so big my face feels stretched out. “I love you, too. Now get your seat belt on.” I point to it.
She slides back over onto her side and clicks the seat belt buckle into place.
As we ride toward the doctor’s office we both keep glancing at the clock in the dashboard. Eight more minutes. Five.
Three. I think it hits her as hard as it does me when we pull into the building’s parking lot. In no time at all we may meet our son or daughter for the very first time.
Yeah, a few months ago, I didn’t think I’d be alive . . .
“The wait is killing me,” Camryn leans over and whispers to me.
This is so strange. Sitting in this doctor’s waiting room with pregnant chicks on all sides of us. I’m kind of scaredto make eye contact. Some of them look pissed. All of the magazines for guys seem to have a man on the cover in a boat holding up a fish with his thumb in its mouth. I pretend to read an article.
“We’ve only been sitting here for about ten minutes,” I whisper back and run the palm of my hand across her thigh, letting the magazine rest on my lap.
“I know, I’m just nervous.”
As I take her hand, a nurse in pink scrubs steps out from a side door and calls Camryn’s name, and we follow her back.
I sit against the wall while Camryn undresses and then puts on one of those hospital gowns. I tease her about her butt being on display and she pretends to be offended, but the blush gives her away. And we sit here and wait. And wait some more until another nurse comes in and has our full attention. She washes her hands in the nearby sink.
“Did you drink enough water an hour before your appointment?” the nurse asks after the hellos.
“Yes ma’am,” Camryn says.
I can tell she’s afraid something might be wrong with the baby and the ultrasound will show it. I’ve tried to tell her that everything will be fine, but it doesn’t keep her fromworrying. She looks across the room at me, and I can’t help but get up and move over to her side. The nurse asks a series of questions and snaps on a pair of latex gloves. I help answer the questions that I can, because Camryn seems increasingly more worried every second that goes by and she doesn’t talk much. I squeeze her hand, trying to ease her mind.
After the nurse squirts that gel stuff on her belly, Camryn takes a deep breath.
“Wow, that’s some tattoo you’ve got there,” the nurse says. “It must’ve been pretty special to sit through one as large as that on the ribs.”
“Yeah, it’s definitely special,” Camryn says and smiles up at me. “It’s of Orpheus. Andrew has the other half. Eurydice.  But it’s a long story.”
I proudly raise my shirt over my ribs to show the nurse my half.
“Stunning,” the nurse says, looking at both of our tattoos in turns. “You don’t see that in here every day.”
The nurse leaves it at that and moves the probe through the gel pointing out the baby’s head and elbow and other various parts. And I feel Camryn’s grip on my hand slowly ease the more the nurse talks and smiles while explaining
how “everything is lookin’ good.” I watch Camryn’s face go from nervous and stiff to relieved and happy, and it makes me smile.
“So are you sure there’s nothing to worry about?” Camryn asks. “Are you positive?”
The nurse nods and glances at me briefly. “Yes. So far I don’t see anything of concern. Development is right where we want it to be. Movement and heartbeat are normal. I think you can relax.”
Camryn looks up at me, and I have a feeling we’re thinking the same thing.
She confirms it when the nurse says, “So, I understand you’re curious about the gender?” And the two of us just pause, looking at one another. She’s so damn beautiful. I can’t believe she’s mine. I can’t believe she’s carrying my baby.
“I’ll take that bet,” Camryn finally agrees, catching me off guard. She smiles brightly and tugs on my hand, and we both look at the nurse.
“Yes,” Camryn answers. “If that’s possible now.”
The nurse moves the probe back to a specific area and appears to be giving her findings one last check before she announces it.
“Well, it’s still kind of early, but . . . looks like a girl to me so far,” the nurse finally says. “At about twenty weeks during your next ultrasound, we’ll be able to determine the sex officially.”
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen Andrew smile like that before. Maybe that night I sang with him the first time in New Orleans and he was so proud of me, but even still I’m not so sure anything can match his face right now. My heart is pounding against my ribs with excitement, especially over Andrew’s reaction. I can tell how much he wanted a little girl, and I swear he’s doing everything in his power to keep rom tearing up in front of the nurse. Or me, for that matter.
It never mattered to me whether it was a boy or girl. I’m like just about every other expecting mom out there who just wants it to be healthy. Not that our baby’s health doesn’t
take precedence over gender in Andrew’s mind, though. I know better than that.
He leans over and kisses me lightly on the lips, his bright green eyes lit up with everything good.
“Lily it is,” I say with complete agreement, and I kiss him once more before he pulls away, running my fingers through his short brown hair.
“Pretty name,” the nurse says. “But keep a boy name handy, too, just in case.” She pulls the probe back and gives us a moment.
Andrew says to the nurse suddenly, “Well, if you don’t see a little package of junk already on my kid, it’s definitely a girl.”
I choke out a small laugh and vaguely roll my eyes as I look at the nurse. What’s even funnier is that Andrew was being serious. He cocks his head to one side when he notices the amused look on my face.
We spend the rest of the day shopping. Neither of us could resist it. We’ve spent some time looking at baby stuff before but never bought much, because we didn’t know if it should be pink or blue and we didn’t want to end up with a room full of yellow. And even though there’s still a chance it could be a boy, I think Andrew is more convinced than before that it’s a girl, so I go along with it and let myself believe it, too.
But he still won’t let me buy much!
“Just wait,” he insists when I go for the next girlie outfit in the newborn section. “You know my mom’s planning a baby shower, right?”
“Yeah, but we can get a few more things now.” I put the outfit in the cart anyway.
Andrew looks into the cart and then back at me with his lips pursed in contemplation. “I think you’ve surpassed a few, babe.”
He’s right. I’ve tossed about ninety dollars’ worth of clothes in the basket already. Oh well, if anything, if it turns out to be a boy I can exchange it all later.  And that’s how the rest of the day goes until we stop by his mother’s house to give her the news.
“Oh, that’s wonderful!” Marna says, pulling me into a hug. “I thought for sure it’d be a boy!”
My hands slide away from Marna’s arms, and I sit at the kitchen table with Andrew while Marna heads to the fridge.
She pulls out a tea pitcher and starts preparing us a glass.
“Baby shower will be in February,” Marna says from the bar. “I’ve already got everything planned out. All you have to do is show up.” She beams at me and puts the tea pitcher
“Thank you,” I say.
She sets a glass down in front of each of us and then pulls out the empty chair.
I really do miss home. But I love it here, too, and Marna is like another mom to me. I haven’t been able to bring myself to tell Andrew yet about how much I miss my mom and Natalie, just having a friend to talk to. You can be in love with the greatest guy on the planet—and in fact, I am—but it doesn’t mean it won’t be somewhat difficult not having other friends. I’ve met one girl my age here, Alana, who lives upstairs with her husband, but I just haven’t been able to click with her on any kind of level. I think if I’m already making up lies to keep from going somewhere with her when she calls, then clicking with her at all might never
But I really think my secret sadness and missing home and all that is because of the pregnancy. My hormones are all out of whack. And I think it also has a lot to do with worrying. I worry about everything now. I mean, I did a lotof that before I met Andrew, but now that I’m pregnant, my worries have multiplied: Will the baby be healthy? Will I be a good mother? Did I screw up my life by . . . I’m doing it again. Fuck. I’m a horrible person. Every time that thought crosses my mind it makes me feel so guilty. I love our baby and I wouldn’t change the way things are if I could, but I can’t help but wonder if I . . . if we messed up by getting pregnant too soon.
“Camryn?” I hear Andrew’s voice and I snap out of my deep thoughts. “Are you all right?”
I force a believable smile. “Yeah, I’m good. Was just daydreaming—y’know, I prefer purple over pink.”
“I got to name her,” Andrew says, “so you can choose whatever colors you want.” He encloses my hand underneath his on the table. It makes me smile just to know that he cares about any of this stuff at all.
Marna pulls her glass away from her lips and sets it on the table in front of her.
“Oh?” she asks intrigued. “You’ve already picked out a name?”
Andrew nods. “Lily Marybeth. Camryn’s middle name is Marybeth. She should be named after her mom.”
Oh my God, he just melted my heart. I don’t deserve him. Marna smiles over at me, her face full of happiness and every other emotion imaginable that someone like Andrew’s mother could possess. Not only did her son beat his illness and come back strong from the brink of death, but now she has a granddaughter on the way. “Well, it’s a beautiful name,” she says. “I thought Aidan and Michelle would be first, but life’s full of surprises.”
Something about the way she said that seemed to have a hidden meaning and Andrew notices.
“Something going on with Aidan and Michelle?” Andrew asks, taking a quick sip of his tea.
“Just part of being married,” she answers. “I’ve never seen a marriage without some kind of struggles, and they’ve been together for a long time.”
“How long?” I ask.
“Married only five years,” Marna says. “But they’ve been together for about nine, I believe.” She nods as she thinks about it further, satisfied with her memory.
“It’s probably just Aidan,” Andrew says. “I wouldn’t wanna be married to him.” He laughs.
“Yeah, that would be weird,” I say, wrinkling my nose at him.
"Well, Michelle won’t be able to make the baby shower,”
Marna says. “She has a few conferences she has to attend in December, and it just doesn’t fit with her schedule, especially since she’s so far away. But she’ll probably send the best
gifts out of everyone.” She smiles sweetly over at me. I acknowledge her and take another sip, but my mind is wandering again and I can’t stop it. All I can think about
is what she said a few comments back, about never knowing of a marriage without struggles. And I slip right back into worry mode.
“Your birthday is December the eighth, right, Camryn?”
I blink back into the moment. “Oh . . . yes. The big twenty-one.”
“Well, looks like I have a birthday party to plan, too, then.”
“Oh, no, you don’t need to do that.”
She waves away my plea as if it’s ridiculous, and Andrew just sits back with that dopey grin on his face.  I give in because I know with Marna there’s no use trying.
We head home after an hour, and it’s already dark out.
I’m so tired from running around all day and from the Lily excitement.
Lily. I can’t believe I’m going to be a mom. A smile spreads across my face as I step into the living room. I drop my purse on the coffee table and plop down on the center cushion of the couch, kicking my shoes off. But before too long, Andrew is sitting down next to me with that knowing look on his beautiful face.
I could fool Marna, but I should’ve known better than to think I could fool him.