Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review of A Matter of Fate by Heather Lyons


Chloe Lilywhite struggles with all the normal problems of a typical seventeen-year-old high school student. Only, Chloe isn't a normal teenage girl. She's a Magical, part of a secret race of beings who influence the universe. More importantly, she's a Creator, which means Fate mapped out her destiny long ago, from her college choice, to where she will live, to even her job. While her friends and relatives relish their future roles, Chloe resents the lack of say in her life, especially when she learns she's to be guarded against a vengeful group of beings bent on wiping out her kind. Their number one target? Chloe, of course.

That's nothing compared to the boy trouble she's gotten herself into. Because a guy she's literally dreamed of and loved her entire life, one she never knew truly existed, shows up in her math class, and with him comes a twin brother she finds herself inexplicably drawn to.

Chloe's once unyielding path now has a lot more choices than she ever thought possible.

Published August 30th 2012 by Cerulean Books  

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E-Book Copy


Wow!  This book was so much more than I was expecting.  I must warn you going in, there is a major love triangle in this book.  I happen to love them.  They create tension and make it hard for me to step away from a book like this.

Heather did a great job with the romance in this book.  It was so good, that she had me crying through a good fourth of the book.  The emotions of the characters was so raw at one point, you felt everything.

It didn't hurt that Kellan and Jonah were sexy twin brothers either.  Finding the man of your dreams, literally, is every girls dream come true.  Then finding out there are two of them, BONUS!  They are both great guys and I couldn't wait to see what was going to develop with them as the story progressed.

The magical aspects of this book were good.  The author penned an alternate reality where magic is real, without flooding the story with it.  There was a good balance of human and magic.  

I really enjoyed the characters in this book as a whole.  They all played their small part to making this book whole.  This is one debut by Heather Lyons that is not to be missed!  I am giving A Matter of Fate five glittery stars for being that great read than many miss in their debut novels.

Find it here on Amazon 
Find it here on Barnes and Noble 

Chapter 1

I am a chronic daydreamer.

Not so much because school bores me—in fact, a number of my classes are pretty interesting. No, I tend to daydream about escape routes. Places to run to when the inevitable, predetermined outcomes of my rigid life leave me no other choice. If it’s possible, even in the tiniest way, just how would I break away from what Fate and family has set before me?

Florence is currently my favorite spot to imagine disappearing in. It’s a city of impossible beauty and history, one I’ve longed to explore. Maybe I’d become an artist there— not that I’m artistic by any means, but maybe I’d be inspired to be something new. Different.
There’s also the possibility of New England. My parents took me there once when I was little, the only time I’ve ever been outside of California. My father went for work, and while he was busy, my mother drove me to a number of little towns running up and down the coastline. One particular small city in New Hampshire is rooted in my memory, where flowers practically raced in bursts of color straight to the ocean’s edge. It was incredibly charming, the perfect sort of place to go and be someone—anyone, really—who isn’t me.
Are you kidding?  snorts a little voice in the back of my mind. C’mon, why pick these places, when there is a much better place for you, and you know it?
Inwardly, I groan at the thought. My conscience has always been far too opinionated.
I move on, wondering what sheer anonymity would be like—to simply be a girl in a nondescript place, serving pancakes and mugs of coffee to weary travelers on long journeys. The land would be flat and golden as far as the eye could see, and driving through it, with the windows down, I’d be able to smell sweet grass in warm air.
And there’s the far north, where the Northern Lights illuminate the sky. I’d be speechless upon seeing them for the first time, standing in snow while gazing upon ribbons of color streaking across the stars. I wouldn’t have to be anyone there, either. I’d be just another person, in another small town, making my own choices.
I don’t bother looking up when the classroom door creaks open, because I’m still imagining those Northern Lights, still wondering how liberating it’d be to feel so small and insignificant for once. For as long as I want.
A voice breaks through, though. One impossible to ignore. “Excuse me,” it says, “I’m new to the class.”
My entire body freezes, all except my heart, which goes berserk. Because I know this voice, and this can’t be real.
He’s not real.
The ground under me shifts. It’s like an earthquake—not the rolling kind, but the jarring sort that comes out of nowhere, hits you hard, and then disappears just as quickly. The kind that leaves you stunned and wondering if it happened at all, it moved so fast. All I can do is reach out and grip the edges of my desk and pray I don’t fall out of my seat.
Because it’s not an earthquake. It’s a shift, and I’m the only one in the room who can feel it. A quick glance once the ground settles confirms this. Everyone is working, talking quietly to one another, or watching the front of the room. There are no signs from anyone that anything had just happened.
But something did.
And he’s standing in front of the classroom next to Mr. Snook.
I blink a few times as I stare at him, trying to determine if I’m actually awake. Every time I open my eyes, though, he’s still here. Oh my gods. He’s here.
The guy I’m staring at is tall, athletic, and quite tan, with blackish hair and eyes so clear, so blue, they replicate a cloudless sky. I should know—I’ve stared into them often enough.
A shy smile creeps across his gorgeous face, creating a dimple in his left cheek as he hands Snook a piece of paper. A textbook is passed over and he’s pointed off towards an empty seat. The class explodes in whispers when he sits down; everyone blatantly stares at him. It’s obvious he hears it all, because a faint pink stain tinges his cheeks. His longish hair shields part of his face, but it doesn’t matter. We’ve all seen enough of him to continue ogling.
From behind me comes, “Hot. So hot!” Several girls nearby giggle in agreement.
 “Math, people.” Snook taps the board in irritation. “Gossip on your own time.” The reprimand quiets the majority of the class, but the girls behind me text furiously back and forth, their fingers flying across keyboards.
It’s hard, but I tear my eyes away from the boy, shocked. I stare blankly at my book, unsure what to do.
How many times had I imagined this scenario before? Too many to keep track of, that’s for sure. How can this be real?
Snook’s voice resumes its familiar drone at the front of the classroom, but in the confusion of what’s happened, I’m unable to put meaning to any of his words. They blur together in low sounds, like the teachers in Peanuts cartoons. I ought to pay attention, what with a test coming up, but I can’t.
Not with him here.
When I look over at the new boy again, the ground shifts for a second time. He’s working on some equation Snook put on the board, one I haven’t attempted, thanks to being shell-shocked and all. But then he reaches out and grabs the sides of his desk, like he’s steadying himself. Like he somehow feels the shift, too. Black hair spills down across his eyes as he takes a deep breath, hiding everything but a small, knowing smile.      
He’s sitting by the windows, doing math—in my classroom! He’s no daydream, no figment of my imagination—although for many years he’d been exactly that.
I realize I’m staring when his blue eyes lift to meet my green ones. A jolt of electricity zaps through my body, all tingly, with promises of familiarity and excitement rolled into one. We stare intently at one another for a good fifteen seconds until a girl next to me asks to borrow a pencil. My eyes jerk back towards my desk and I mumble an incoherent apology. It’s just long enough of a reprieve for me to begin hyperventilating.
Get a grip on yourself! the little voice barks. You’re going to pass out!
The pencil in my hand snaps, driving a splinter deep into my palm.
“Chloe?” Oops. Snook is talking to me. When I merely stare back, he tries, “Your answer, Miss Lilywhite?”
Unable to do anything else, as I have no idea what problem we’re even on, I surge, stretching my mind out to someone nearby to find the answer. I land on some guy who’s in the thralls of remembering a hot and heavy make-out session with his girlfriend rather than focusing on math, so I’m forced to flip through a number of graphic images before finding what I need.
I hate cheating, hate using anything other than my intelligence for schoolwork. This explains why I’m sitting in basic math, rather than AP Calculus like the Cousins.
The moment I find the answer, I pull myself out of the guy’s mind, feeling dirty just having his thoughts mingling with mine. Eww. “It’s X = 2y + 79z.”
Snook moves on to the next problem and victim, as if there’d never been any pause at all.
Ugh! I’d gone nine months without cheating, something I was exceedingly proud of. The Cousins heckle me mercilessly about it, saying it’s stupid to not use my gifts while in class. But I’ve held steadfast in my belief that school is a place for intelligence, not Magic.
Also, my hand is throbbing. Picking doesn’t help—the splinter is driven even deeper by my efforts. And now I’m bleeding. Great.
When the class bell rings, most everyone packs up quickly so they can get to lunch, but the girls behind me are back to discussing him, clearly infatuated with his looks.
As for me, I’m still dazed with disbelief before realizing I should pack up, too. The pause is just long enough to notice Snook motion the new guy up for a quick conference. He walks to the podium with smooth, graceful motions that exude confidence.
I can’t hear what Snook is asking, and this only exacerbates my curiosity. I try listening as long as possible until it’s grossly apparent I’m sticking around out of nosiness. At least I’m not alone. All the girls behind me are doing the same.
I force myself to go to the door, but before I can walk through it, the urge to look back at him is irresistible. Despite Snook still talking, he looks directly at me. That dimpled smile I’ve always adored crosses his face, and I go lightheaded. When our eyes connect, a flood of memories rush through my mind, vivid as they were on the nights they were created.
He raises a hand and rakes it through his dark hair. A silver ring glints on his right thumb.
Not silver, reminds the little voice. Titanium.
I used to love playing with that ring, twisting it round and round on my thumb. There was an engraving on the inside, but in the haziness that often comes with memories, I can’t remember the words. Completely freaked out now, I hurl myself into the hallway, smack into Cora.
“Hey!” She grabs my arm to steady me. “What’s the rush?”
I can’t help but look over. He’s regarding me with an oddly frustrated expression. Blushing, I shove my Cousin out of the door’s line of sight. “I’m just glad math is over.”
Before she calls me out on my obvious lie, I stick my hand out. When she gently touches my hand, the splinter slides out along with the pain.
She eyes me critically. “Those shifts last period. You have anything to do with them? I’m thinking yes, as you’re the only big fish in this small pond.”
I nearly stagger, forcing her to detour us toward the nearest set of lockers. Concerned, she surges into my mind, flipping through the last period’s events. She finds the shifts easily, but doesn’t recognize the reason behind them. A squeeze to my shoulder indicates a need for better info, so I reluctantly push forward a memory a little over a year old to the forefront of my mind. Cora watches it silently, her fingers twisting her magenta-dyed hair. When she signals for more, I tentatively release a couple of incomplete memories from various time periods over the last decade.
“Did you see him? In my classroom?” I whisper, pressing myself up against a locker. My long hair feels sticky against my neck. “Was he real? I’ve gone insane, haven’t I?”
“Yeah, I saw him. He was definitely hard to miss.”
I don’t know what to say. I’m so freaked out she puts her hand on my shoulder to calm me down. Thank goodness Cora is such a talented Shaman. Her Magical healing abilities have always been able to soothe me like no pill ever could. She’s also the closest thing I have to a sister, despite the fact we’re only loosely related at best and refer to one another as Cousins.
“Tell me everything,” she demands. Cora’s like that. She’s always demanding one thing or another. “Start with why this is the first I’ve ever heard of this dude.”
I’m not ready yet to share the true beginning. No, those memories are mine. So I began where I can—with the impossibility of the situation. “He’s real!”
She gets the look on her face that means she’s trying not to shake me. “Okay, but just exactly who is he?” When I don’t answer, she presses, “Let’s try something simpler. What’s his name?”
I say it out loud, for the first time, in a really long time. “Jonah.”
Jonah is here.
“Alright,” she says, shooting the guy whose locker I’m pressed up against a dirty look and an order to get moving. “Where’s he from?”
I want to laugh at the absurdity of her question. Where’s he from? I can just imagine her response if I told her the truth.
“Chloe, how can I help you if you don’t actually tell me anything? So far, all I know is that some guy in your math class triggered two shifts and caused you to go into shock. I don’t recognize him, and you’re making things considerably more confusing by repeating things like, ‘Is he real? Did you see him?’ after very clearly showing me memories you have of the two of you together.”
“He’s not real,” I whisper.
She looks at me like I’m insane.
“I always wished he was, but even I couldn’t make him real.”
“Babe, I saw him. He’s real.”
But I shake my head over and over again, forcing my brown hair to go flying. Because Magic is real. Dreams are not.
And I’ve learned that one the hard way.

Author Bio:

hi! i'm heather and i like to write stories.

i've always had a thing for words--i've been writing stories since i was a kid. i even got admonished by a professor during my undergrad years for writing too much like a novelist or journalist rather than a scholar. he said this like it was a bad thing, but it so isn't.

in addition to writing, i've also been an archaeologist and a teacher. i'm a rabid music fan, as evidenced by my (mostly) music-centric blog have you met heather?. i'm married to an even larger music snob than i, and we're happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to. i'm a prolific reader of books esoteric, cheesy, thought-provoking, and just plain fun. and, perhaps most importantly, i like to babble.

my debut novel, a matter of fate, a young adult fantasy/romance, will be published in August 2012. check back on the books page for more details!

outside of this website, you can find some short stories of mine online over at the great cake writing experimenta weekly writing challenge filled with a lot of great writers from all over the world. local peeps can find me at the coffee house writers group. 

Heather on the internet

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