So, a few months ago I received an ARC for a YA series called Runes by author Ednah Walters. I was blown away by the series, set in my home state of Oregon. A week later, I was asked to join the book tour. And here we are! Today’s the last stop, so I recommend that you visit the others on this tour to read their reviews, more sneak peeks at the second book, IMMORTALS (due out August 2013!), and sign up for the fabulous giveaway.
Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James, a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her. Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run. Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about him. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only is she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.
I must say that it was very enjoyable. The characters felt more real than most YA books. These kids had well rounded lives that involved equal measures of school, modern day internets, and high school participation. The story felt a bit rushed but it was a good opener for a promising series. The supernatural bits kept me guessing and I can say that I look forward to learning more about the world that Walters has created. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, I loved that this book was set in Portland, Oregon’s backyard. I also enjoyed how Walters used runes in her story. I don’t read runes but I love divination types and seeing that the runes were made into a magical system, that also doubled as a type of tattoo, got me really excited. I can’t wait to see how this system develops and morphs later in the series. If you want a good, fun and fast read, then Runes is that book.
As for the giveaway, 5 lucky winners will win one of each item shown below:
As a bonus, here’s two excerpts from Runes as written by the love interest Torin:
I kept an eye on Andris. Usually I just ignored him until it was time to lead new recruits home. Today, he was pissing me off. I didn’t like the look in his eyes when I’d arrived at the park and saw him talking to Raine and I didn’t like it now as he watched her play Frisbee. He’d worn the same look when he’d met his present girlfriend, Maliina. Within a week, he’d started secretly runing her and turning her into an immortal. By the time I’d found out, it had been too late.
My gaze swung to Raine and I grinned. She sucked at Ultimate Frisbee, but made up for it with determination and enthusiasm. She jumped to catch the Frisbee, but Maliina cut her off, using runes to cheat. No surprise there. Andris had no control over her or he would have taught her never to cheat.
Maliina cut off Raine, the runes on her skin glowing. Something cold clasped my chest when she turned, one leg whipping out in a roundhouse kick.
What in Hel’s Mist? I didn’t stop to think. I took off, willing runes for speed and invisibility on my skin. Raine couldn’t survive a kick by one of one, but I was too late. Maliina’s foot connected with Raine’s chest and I barely caught her as she flew backwards.
Maliina’s eyes connected with mine and fear flashed in hers. She had crossed the line by attacking a Mortal and would pay if I had anything to do with it.
Raine’s breathing was labored. “Can’t…breathe…”
“Hang in there for me.” Her ribs were broken, her sternum snapped into two. I gently lowered her to the ground and reached for a runic blade. I didn’t care whether what I was about to do was right or wrong. I had to save her. “Easy, Freckles. You’ll be okay in seconds.”
I etched the runes on her arm then put the blade away. A few students and the coach were already running toward us, including her blonde friend and Eirik Seville.
“What happened?” Eirik asked.
“She slipped.” I stepped away as he knelt on her other side. The look he threw me said he didn’t believe me. Of course, he couldn’t possibly know of what I’d done. Mortals couldn’t see runes. Cora joined him, and together, they fussed over Raine, stroking her face, her hair. My gaze didn’t shift from her eyes.
Come on, Freckles Open your eyes. The runes had better work or someone was going to be sorry. Raine couldn’t die. Not yet. As though she’d heard me, her eyelids flattered then lifted. I grinned with relief. Time to talk with Andris.
“Are you okay?” Eirik asked Raine.
“What happened?” Cora asked at the same time.
Raine struggled to a sitting position, the others helping her. I knew I should leave, but I couldn’t until she was back to her snarky self.
“Is she okay?” Coach Fletcher yelled, hurrying toward us.
“She’s fine,” I said. “She lost her balance and fell.”
Raine started to turn and look at me, but Cora and Eirik grabbed her arms and helped her up. “I’m fine,” she insisted. “Really.”
Coach Fletcher studied her face. “Did you bang your head?”
He glanced at me. “St. James?”
“No, she didn’t. She tripped and landed on her butt. She’s fine.” When the coach nodded, I took off. Andris and I were going to have a long talk about Maliina.
I glanced back one last time and caught Raine staring at me. I grinned, wondering if she knew I had healed her.
Music greeted me when I reached the club’s entrance. I paid the fee and walked past two buff bouncers, who eyed me suspiciously. I ignored them and entered the lounge, which brimmed with students. I recognized some from the Ultimate Frisbee game at the park.
I made eye contact with a few and nodded, but I kept my distance. I was here to keep an eye on Andris and his girls, not socialize. I hadn’t gotten a chance to have our little chat after the incident with Raine because of they were hanging out with Mortals.
I gave my order and turned to give the room another sweeping glance.
“No alcohol, dude,” the bartender said. “It’s high-school night.” His eyes narrowed. “Are you sure you’re in high school?”
“Why would I be in here?” I said.
The guy smirked. “Show me some I.D.”
I wanted to flip him, maybe rune him, but we were already drawing attention. I pulled out my wallet and studied my latest I.D., New York driver’s license. I hadn’t changed it. It stated that I was twenty-five. The bartender signaled the bouncer. I rolled my eyes, grabbed a second I.D. and passed it to him.
He glanced at it and frowned. “Denmark?”
“It’s a country in Europe, legal drinking age eighteen,” I pointed out.
He sneered. “Well, this is USA, legal drinking age twenty-one.” He slapped the I.D. on the table. “So, what will it be, Denmark?”
I studied him as one would a bug I wanted to squash. Too bad I couldn’t without consequences. “Nothing.”
I found a corner table, sat and fixed my gaze on the door. Two guys, one with a punk haircut and electric blue side bangs and the other with a Mohawk with blond highlights, entered the lounge from the dance floor and yelled something. Half of the students got up and disappeared into the dance room. A group of four girls kept whispering and staring my way.
One of them approached my table. I cocked my brow and she stopped. She smiled nervously. “Uh, my friends and I, uh, are wondering if you’d like to join us.”
“No, I wouldn’t.”
Her smile slipped, her face turning red. She turned to leave. Raine would not have given up so quickly. She would have pushed and challenged me, until she got a rise out of it. On the other hand, she would not have asked me to join her. She didn’t like me very much.
“What’s your name?” I called out.
The girl turned around and smiled. “Jess.”
She was actually pretty with violet eyes and black hair. “Are you with the swim team, Jess?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
She looked at her friends. “Can my friends join us too?”
I studied the other three girls and shrugged. They were entertaining for about a few minutes, then I lost interest. They were boring. I was about to tell them to leave when Raine entered the lounge. My breath stalled.
Endless legs. Slender waist. Hair framing her breathtaking face. She took my breath away. If she were mine, I would not want to share her with anyone. My gaze didn’t leave her until she disappeared inside the partition separation the lounge from the dance floor.
“Surprise! Happy birthday, Raine,” a cheer rang out then a happy birthday started.
I stood. “Ladies,” I glanced at Jess then her friends, “I have to go.