Of Glitter and Gold: A Canary Club Anthology

Of Glitter and Gold: A Canary Club Anthology
Sherry D. Ficklin
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 27th 2017
Genres: Historical, Young Adult

Set during the flamboyant anything-goes era of 1920’s America, these three tales are filled with intriguing characters and rich imagery from the time period—with flappers, jazz music, gangsters, and lavish wealth. Escape to a different decade today with the compelling stories of the Canary Club Anthology.

Novelette 1- Gilded Cage
Masie, the flaxen-haired daughter of notorious bootlegger Dutch Schultz, returns home from boarding school to find her family in crisis. Her mother is dangerously unstable, herfather’s empire is on the brink of ruin, and the boy she once loved has become a ruthless killer for hire. To keep her family’s dangerous secrets, Masie is forced into a lie that will change the course of her future—and leave her trapped in a gilded cage of her own making.

Novelette 2- All That Glitters
A dame with brains, moxie, and killer curves, June West isn’t your average flapper. She’s managed to endear herself to the son of one of the most powerful gangsters in New York, earning herself a spot in the limelight that she’s always longed for. With the infamous playboy at her side, June has become accustomed to living the high life. Lavish parties, expensive clothes, sparkling jewels—nothing is beyond her reach. But when her carefully woven web of lies finally catches up with her, she must make an impossible choice… come clean about her past and risk losing everything, or find a wayto bury her demons—once and for all.

Novelette 3 – Nothing Gold
Dickey has been down on his luck since the day he was born. Flat broke and sick of being looked down on, he meets young socialite Lillian at a wild party. The connection islike a strike of lightning. From a wealthy New York family, this debutante is everything he’s been told he can never have—and the only thing he wants. Determined to win her, he knows the only way to get her parents approval is with cold hard cash. So when a shot at the biggest score of his life comes around, he just can’t refuse…

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NOTHING GOLD EXCERPT:

It’s easier than I imagined to sneak into the party. The music is so loud and the crowd so enormous that no one sees me wind my way through the shrubs on the outskirts. The massive estate is far enough away from the city that I had to hitch a ride to get here, and I’ll have to time my exit just right to make the train back to Manhattan.

Brushing off my secondhand suit coat, I enter the party via the back patio. A wide pool is filled with people, most still in their fancy evening wear. My eyes slide past them,searching for the one person at this shindig that I know. I scan past butlers with white gloves holding silver trays covered in champagne glasses, past gleeful dames in short skirts with blood-red lips, and past gents in their glad rags I can tell with one glance costmore dough than I make in a year working at the mill.

When I finally see him, his pinstripe suit, matching fedora, and red pocket square, he’s standing atop the massive staircase on the ledge overlooking the party. Deacon Brewer, the reason I’m here tonight. His hands are stuffed in the pockets of his trousers as he chats up a fella I don’t recognize, along with the dame hanging off his arm. Plastering on an easy grin, I wind my way through the people, helping myself to a glass of bubbly as I head for the stairs. The stone steps are covered in gold confetti, the whole place practically dripping with it. Long, red velvet drapes hang from arched windows, and leafless branches painted gold and draped with crystal beads sit in tall vases in every corner. Nothing has been left un-gilded.

I shake my head at the audacity. Might as well have a neon sign—someone, please rob the joint.

Deacon sees me coming and dismisses himself from his conversation, welcoming me with an open hand.

“Dickey Lewis, glad you could make it, boy,” he offers warmly.

As if I had a choice.

“Of course, Mr. Brewer,” I respond with more warmth than I feel. Truth is that I’m in deep to Deacon after a few bad bets at his club last month, and he opted to make me work it off rather than take it outta my hide. I suppose that makes him clever, but I can’t help the gnawing feeling that this is a debt I may never fully repay. “What’s the score?” Iask, lowering my voice.

Draping an arm across my shoulders, he walks me through the glass doors and intothe house. Still crammed with people drinking, dancing, and generally wrecking the joint, he pulls a cigar from his vest pocket with his free hand.

“Upstairs in the den is a lovely Monet, behind which is a very large safe. Cash, some baubles, and a bankbook are inside. I don’t care about the rest; you take what
you need. But the bankbook needs to find its way into my hands tomorrow morning by eight am.”

I take a deep breath, rolling my tongue over my teeth before answering, “How am I supposed to get into the safe?”

He barks a deep laugh, slapping me on the back. “Guess you’ll have to get a little creative. Just get in, get out, and don’t let nobody see ya, got it?”

All I can do is nod and watch him swagger away. Sure, I’ve boosted loot before, but always simple jobs, smash and grabs. Nothing like this. What have I gotten myselfinto this time?

Still, whatever else is in there is mine for the taking, I tell myself. Could be a big pay day, judging by the looks of the place.

I wander casually through the house, trying to look as if I belong while also counting the number of cops and guards watching the area. It’s not as many as I expected. I graba dark-haired dame by the waist, offering her a charming smile and asking for a dance. We Charleston together for two songs, finally stopping to imbibe more champagne. When I ‘accidently’ stumble into her, she spills the contents of her glass on my jacket, fumbling a wide-eyed apology.

Waving her off with a smile, I hand her my glass, “You take this, and I’ll go find a place to wash up.”

“You could always take a dip in the pool, honey,” she says, batting her eyelashes.

Beside her, a gentleman points up a secondary set of stairs near the front door. “Washroom is up there, I think.”

I mutter a thanks and a promise to return, then make my way up the stairs, continuing to stumble around as if drunk, occasionally opening a door to find a couple necking or a room full of folks smoking the Indian hop in long pipes.

Finally, the thumping of the music fading below me, I make my way to the library. Beyond that, I find the only locked door on the entire floor. Digging into my pocket, I pull out my lock kit, a simple flattened iron jimmy and a hooked pick. Sliding both in the lock,I slide them back and forth, listening for the mechanism inside to release. It doesn’t takelong and the door springs open, allowing me to step inside and close it quickly behind me. It’s dark except for the glow of a single lamp atop a massive oak desk, behind which is a tall arched window overlooking the front of the estate. From this spot, I can see the cars lined up along the circular drive, partygoers coming and going in wild abandon. Pulling the pocket watch from my vest, I wipe my fingers across the cracked glass face, checking the time. Only thirty minutes until the train. If I miss it, it’ll be two hours before the next one. Not the end of the world, unless someone notices the lift before I’m gone. That’s a long time to stick around with a pocket fulla stolen goods.

I glance around me, the blood chilling in my veins. Every wall except the one with the window is covered in framed paintings. And I have no idea which one is a Monet.

Scrambling, I begin lifting each, checking the wall behind for any sign of the safe. Finally, on the opposite wall from where I started, I find it. Carefully lifting the heavy
canvas free, I set it on the floor and turn my attention to the wall safe. It’s not large, about the size of a bread box with a spinning combination dial in the center. Unsure what else to do, I pull the pocket knife free from my trousers and flick it open, trying to wedge it between the door and the frame. As soon as I do, I know it’s going to be futile. The thing is heavy steel; no way my knife is gonna bust it open. Putting it away, I begin spinning the dial at random, praying I’ll get lucky.

I’m so flustered I don’t hear the door open or the footsteps from behind me until it’s too late.

“It’s my birthday,” a voice offers, making me spin, hands balled into fists to fight my way free from the room.

The dame is tall, her garnet-red hair rolled into bouncy curls and pinned in a messy heap at the back of her neck. Her dress is green, almost the same color as her eyes, and it hugs her slender frame as if it were a second skin. Even the long strings of pearlstwined around her neck seems completely natural, not just a decoration but an extension of her. I take a breath, blinking, momentarily stunned. She drapes one hand on her hip, her entire body listing to the side as she points to the safe.

“The combination,” she repeats. “It’s my birthday.”

Finally recovering my voice, I stammer. “I was, uh, just…”

The corners of her mouth turn upward. “Breaking into my father’s safe?”

I don’t know what to say. I feel her in the room, the way one might feel the air change right before a storm, a heaviness that settles in, leaving my soul with a sense of foreboding. My instincts battle inside me. Do I grab her and tie her to a chair, or do I flee? The weight of her gaze makes it impossible to think clearly.

“Relax,” she says, raising a glass I hadn’t noticed her holding to her lips and taking a slow drink. “I’m not calling the guards if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“Oh? You’re just gonna let me crack this safe and walk away with whatever’s inside?”

She shrugs. “It’s not my money. What do I care?”

I lick my lips, sizing her up. A spoiled little rich girl who wants to stick it to Daddy. I’ve seen a few of those in my day. I can work with this—if I can get my head back on straight. It’s not like me to get so flustered by a dame, not even a high-quality one like this.

“Besides…” She sets the glass on the desk and saunters toward me. “It’s not like we don’t have enough.”

I catch a hint of her perfume in the air when she brushes by me, lavender and something else I can’t quite place. Taking the dial in her hand, she spins the knob until the door finally clicks, then she steps back, giving me a go-ahead gesture.

I hesitate, flicking glances at the bare skin where her neck meets her shoulder, at the creamy whiteness of her skin, before settling my eyes on her face. “What’s your name, doll?”

She looks down, sheepishly at first, but then raises just her eyes to look at me with an expression of bold defiance. “I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”

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Defiance by C.J. Redwine

I am taking part in a new meme hosted by What’s Beyond Forks? where we take a book that’s been on our TBR list and we review it!

I had heard about this book leading up to its release through other blogger friends and I totally meant to get it, but I just never had a chance to. A few months after this was released I got so overwhelmed with school and I just stopped reading for a long time. I went to the SCBWI MidSouth Conference in Sept. and had a face-to-face with Holly Root who recommended that I read this book based on the kind of book that I was writing.

I immediately bought it once I got home from the conference and I read about 65 pages and…didn’t read anymore. I was still at a point where reading was difficult for me because I was just so busy, but then at the very end of January I got a new job that actually affords me a life outside of work so I put it back on my list.

So here is the long overdue review for Defiance by C.J. Redwine.


From Goodreads

Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Source: Purchased

Defiance by C. J. Redwine is rich postapocalyptic YA fantasy perfect for fans of Graceling and Tamora Pierce.

While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city’s brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father’s apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

This book was a ride! It’s extremely well-paced, quick without leaving out any important details. I am usually really averse to having two characters followed in narrations, but lately I have had so much success with these type of books and this one was in that group. Switching between Logan and Rachel worked really well for this story.
We got to see the developing relationship between the two from both of their perspectives and it was a real treat! Redwine did such a fantastic job with Logan’s inner thoughts. He’s a guy and there is a whole internal conversation he has about Rachel’s breasts in a dress and it’s hilarious! She did not shy away from that and I am so happy because it only made him even more realistic as a character.
The way that Rachel handles grief was perfect! I love when we get to see characters who aren’t strong all the time, that’s not realistic and gives people who read it a very difficult bar to follow.
There were several elements that helped turn this from a traditional post-apocalyptic into a fantasy; the Cursed One, Baalboden, and the Tree People. The Cursed One is a monstrous creature who came out of the ground when humans dug too deep. He is described as a wingless dragon in the book but for some reason in my head he still has wings. I have no idea why that happened, but his description is very clear, but my brain is crazy I guess. Baalboden is the town that they live in and honestly doesn’t feel like anything in our world right now which made it perfect. The people live under the ruthless Commander, who seems to be the only person the Cursed One is afraid of. We only very very briefly get to see the Tree People and I wish we would have actually gotten to see one of their villages. I know that there are two more books, so maybe we will see them then?
Overall this book was great, it was action packed, filled with romance in the face of death and danger, and a monster that destroyed humanity as it was known. I can’t wait to order the other two books and get to read them!

Safe and Sound Read-a-Long

Hey guys! I am super excited to read Safe and Sound by Alli Hope. I was so lucky to be able to read it a few years ago, but I am looking forward to reading the finished product with new eyes. What I remember from before is an incredible story about a girl and a boy thrown back together as they go on an almost impossible journey. It also talks about human trafficking, which is something so serious that feels like it only get discussed when it’s in the Taken movies or when Ashton Kutcher talks about it. Atlanta is a hub for human trafficking and the town I live in isn’t that far from there. I hope that this opens the eyes of so many young adults who are reading it. It’s also a really great story of two teenagers trying to find their way in the world again.

Alli Hope is hosting a Read-A-Long for Safe and Sound from March 24-April 2.

16 year-old, Hailey Perish, knows her life can’t get much worse. Since her dad split a few years ago, Hailey’s mother has spiraled hard and fast, careening toward rock bottom and threatening to take her daughter down with her. Hailey now marks time by evictions, her mother’s poker games, and Saturday School where she voluntarily shows up for weekend detentions to secure her one promised meal of the week. She has no room for relationships, especially with someone like her childhood love and junior class golden boy, Carson Hart. Hailey trusted him once and Carson failed her. She’s determined not to let herself be hurt again.

When Hailey’s mom does the unthinkable and bets her own daughter in a high stakes poker game, Mitch, the loan shark, is all too eager and determined to collect on his debt. To him, Hailey is nothing but property. His property. And he’ll do anything to recover it. On the run from a fate that promises a much worse life than she already knows, there’s only one person in the world Hailey can call for help.

Will Carson be there for her in her darkest hour and deliver her from harm’s way safe and sound? Or will he abandon Hailey—just like he’s always done—just like they all do?

Alli Hope’s debut novel delivers an unforgettable story about love & surviving in the dark places. Safe & Sound contains mature situations and content.

Alli Hope lives on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. She spends her days working with homeless veterans and her nights putting words on the page. Co-creator of fangirl podcast All The Flails, Alli loves binge watching shows on Netflix or reading swoony books with characters she can fall in love with. She recently married Ricky Whittle and David Ramsey, despite what they’d say otherwise.

Use the tag #SSReadAlong to read along on Twitter! I know I will be!

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows


Title: The Mirror King

Author: Jodi Meadows

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Publication Date: April 5, 2016

Source: Purchased

From Goodreads

Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.

Let me start by saying that this book hurts. This book hurt me so much more than I thought it was going to, but I wouldn’t change it at all. Jodi Meadows poured so much into this novel and it came at me in a totally different way than the Incarnate series that will forever hold a place in my heart. Even now, writing this review, my chest still hurts thinking about Wil’s journey. Heartache and terror and beauty and splendor all wrapped up into this gift that Meadows has given the world.
War and wraith come to Wil in The Mirror King. We rejoin Wil in the Indigo Kingdom with the wraith boy she created unknowingly on her journey to the wraithland. During The Orphan Queen I was disappointed we hadn’t gotten to see more of Wil’s time in the wraithland, but I realized that we learned everything we needed to know. Wil’s story is so much more than being able to survive against wraith beasts, and I should have realized it a lot sooner.
Wil’s story is about struggling to discover who she really is, as is evident when she doesn’t even know what her own handwriting is. She can slip into different identities and handwritings seamlessly, but when faced with trying to be herself she struggles. This was such a great way for Meadows to tackle a topic that so many young adults go through without making it over the top and obvious.
Another really great element was the romance. I wanted so badly for Tobiah and Wil to be together, but there were too many obstacles in the way. My mind conjured up a million different ways for them to be together, but they all kept coming back to the same thing: Meredith was perfect. Meredith who knows that Tobiah doesn’t love her, but loves him no matter what. Meredith who is the queen the Indigo Kingdom needs. Watching everyone dance around that complication was interesting to read and made me so sad at the same time because I felt like there would be no happy ending for anyone. Tobiah and Meredith end up together and Wil is heartbroken. Tobiah and Wil end up together a whole slew of other people are heartbroken.
In The Mirror King we finally get a glimpse at Aecor, the kingdom Wil has waited nine years to reclaim. Prince Colin, the overlord of the territory and the impending wraith and war complicate what should have been a wonderful moment for her. There’s this great moment in the book where Wil mentions that she has spent the last nine years waiting to return home to Aecor, but that a part of her would always recognize the Indigo Kingdom as home.
As with every Jodi Meadows book, magic is weaved so realistically into the novel. It’s an integral part of the book, magic causes wraith and wraith is the incoming doom for both countries. These two things will have a huge impact on Wil’s life at the end of the novel.
Why was this book so painful to read? Every one of Jodi Meadows books has a twist that only she can come up with. It’s one of the reasons why every single book I’ve read by her have been five star books. The twists/surprises in this book is one of the reasons why this book was so painful. It all stems from the bleak reality of war.
Meadows does not shy away from showing the gruesome events that happen in war and the choices those in power need to make. She shows how painful conflict can be and how in a real war not everyone lives. Not. Everyone. Lives. Hence the ache in my chest that hasn’t left me since I read it.
I can’t talk about the rest of the amazing elements to this book because I don’t want to give spoilers. I wish that everyone would read this book so that I can talk freely about what’s in between the book covers.