The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

Hey everyone! I’m back with a book review post after I’ve been MIA for the past five days. Two days long graduation ceremonies + slight fever really got the best of me. But, I’m so excited to share with you that I’ve got selected to be a part of The Weight of Our Sky’s SEA blog tour. This blog tour is specifically targeted bloggers with SEA backgrounds and here is the complete schedule of the blog tour, in case you want to check out everyone’s post!

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

Melati Ahmad has imagined her mother’s death countless times. Plagued by gruesome thoughts she believes are put into her head by a djinn, Melati has developed an intricate set of tapping rituals to tame the monster within and keep her mother safe.
 
But there are things that Melati can’t protect her mother from. On the evening of May 13th, 1969, racial tensions in  her home city of Kuala Lumpur boil over. The Chinese and Malays are at war, and Mel and her mother become separated by a city in flames.
 
With a 24-hour curfew in place and all lines of communication down, it will take the help of a Chinese boy named Vincent and all of the courage and grit in Melati’s arsenal to overcome the violence on the streets, her own prejudices, and her djinn’s surging power to make it back to the one person she can’t risk losing.

★★★★ ½

Title: The Weight of Our Sky | Author: Hanna Alkaf | Publisher: Salaam Reads | Genre: Historical Fiction | Publication Date: February 5, 2019 | Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley + Vicky Who Reads (Thank you!) | LINKS: Amazon • Goodreads • Barnes and NobleBook Depository (Affiliate) • IndieBound • Bookalicious!

[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Anxiety triggers, death, graphic violence, OCD & racism.[/su_spoiler]

Gripping and a hair-raising story of a prominent historical fiction, built with the perfect balance of culture, mental health, and religion representation.

First of all, I’m not really a big fan of historical fiction. I’m having a hard time to enjoy and relate them, especially when I’m not familiar with the said historic event. Second of all, the moment I realized about the existence of this book, I was hype. The Weight of Our Sky is an extremely tough book, right from its first sentence. It’s not a light reading that you can enjoy underneath the sunshine with a glass of ice tea in your other hand (But if that’s how you read your book, then go ahead! Don’t mind me here!) However, Hanna Alkaf successfully brings out the ugly part of historical event in a form of beautifully crafted fiction and it was fascinating. The integration of cultural references, mental health representation, and religious aspects made this book remarkable and won’t be very easy to forget.

All of the cultural references in this book made my Asian heart burst of happiness. I finally get to read something and relate to everything mentioned. Even though I’m Indonesian, the similarity of Indonesian and Malaysian culture is very close, and to witness them throughout this story, it was truly an experience. Non-Asian readers might not notice these references since they’re tiny and seems like just a random explanation. Details such as going to market with your best friend after school and buy local snacks and ice-cold drinks because we’re living in a tropical country and it’s burning hot during the day, visiting small shops just for the heck out of it and not buying anything, Melati’s favorite food and drink, the mentioned of woman devil who sucks blood, and many more. All of these are something that I’m very familiar with. I grow up by actually experiencing these references and it made me ecstatic to see them properly written in this book.

“You’re not worried about Pontianaks, are you? And if you’re naughty, I’ll tell her to come and take you, too!”

As for the mental health representation, this book summarizes it all together. Anxiety and OCD is a big part of Melati and Alkaf wonderfully presented it in such a graceful way. The inner conversation between Melati and the so-called Djinn and the description of Melati’s tapping as a way to cope with her anxiety/OCD was greatly written. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book before where I truly get to understand the MC’s mind and sense their emotions and feelings. I also very much appreciated that Alkaf brings out these issues and created a flawed MC, where their flaws are actually a part of them and affect their lives and decision making and not just to enrich the story.

“You can’t trust him, you can’t trust him, he’ll think you’re crazy, he’ll leave you.”

Lastly, as a Muslim, to read a story where my religion was a big part of the story, I feel extremely proud. The mentioned of Djinn, going to Ustaz for seeking medication, Melati’s confused thought about the using of ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the attacks instead during the prays, it all happened then and it all still happening to me. We do believe that Djinn existed, and even some Muslims still believe that when you’re not being faithful and close enough to God, that’s the cause of your anxiety, depression, and stress. Being a Muslim herself, Alkaf delivered all of these intricate perspectives from Muslims and made the best sense out of it in this book.

Overall, The Weight of Our Sky was an incredible historical book. It got the right balance of everything without pushing too much. I love how the plot was at a steady pace yet it was still just as thrilling. The horror will haunt you and the drama will wreck your heart. It’s definitely one of my favorite read for this year!

For my stop, I got the opportunity to also share an aesthetic design (in this case, a lockscreen) along with the review that I have written previously. Here’s the one that I made, inspired by Melati and her fierceness in The Weight of Our Sky! Feel free to use it/share it wherever you want! 🙂

About the Author

Hanna Alkaf graduated with a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and spent over ten years writing everything from B2B marketing emails to investigative feature articles, from non-profit press releases to corporate brochures. She worked in Chicago as an online copywriter for several years upon graduation before coming home. She’s been a senior writer at Marie Claire Malaysia, the communications manager of education non-profit Teach For Malaysia, and a freelance journalist. Her articles have appeared in the Malaysian iterations of Marie Claire, Shape, and Esquire, as well as a host of other media both print and online.

Hanna now spends her time making it up as she goes along, both as an author of fiction and as a mom. THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY is her first novel. She lives in Kuala Lumpur with her family.

(Photo credit: Azalia Suhaimi)

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway

The prize: a copy of The Weight of Our Sky & a Kampung House coloring book! The coloring book consists of gorgeous line drawings of wooden kampung houses that would have been common in 1969–more info here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

US/INTL Pre-Order Giveaway

Preorder or request The Weight of Our Sky from your local library to receive

  • an enamel pin designed by Rizal Aziz
  • a bookmark
  • a signed bookplate illustrated by Hanna Alkaf
  • a pop-up card featuring scenes of old-school Malaysia from Loka Made, illustrated by Fei Giap

For more information, check out the full preorder giveaway here.

Malaysian Bookalicious! Pre-Order Giveaway

Info here and here.

Preorder your special signed copies of The Weight of Our Sky in either paperback or hardcover from Bookalicious! to receive

  • a bookmark (paperback)
  • a bookmark and enamel pin (hardcover)

(Please note that preorders through Bookalicious! come with their own giveaway items and are not eligible for the US/INTL giveaway.)

Find more information on the prizes hereFind more information on the Bookalicious! promotion here.

Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen

I’m a big fan of watching a science-fiction movie. I mean, what makes a sci-fi movie awesome is the visualization, right? The sight of all the awesome aliens/techs/etc, right?! So, I used to think it will not work as good on the paper. But, I’ve learned my lesson today and I was in fact, wrong. 


Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen

To save his daughter, he’ll go anywhere—and any-when…
 
Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in I.T., trying to keep the spark in his marriage, and struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.
 
Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.
 
Their mission: return Kin to 2142 where he’s only been gone weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can’t remember.
 
Torn between two lives, Kin is desperate for a way to stay connected to both. But when his best efforts threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself, his daughter’s very existence is at risk. It’ll take one final trip across time to save Miranda—even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process.

★★★★★

Title: Here and Now and Then | Author: Mike Chen | Publisher: Mira Books | Genre: Science Fiction | Publication Date: January 29, 2019 | Format: eARC | Source: Edelweiss+ | LINKS: Book Depository (Affiliate)

Riveting time-travel story within perfectly built universes bringing the authenticity of human natures and struggles.

I’m a fan of a science fiction story, but usually, I enjoyed this particular genre over the screen and not over the pages. In other words, this book is my first sci-fi read and it totally blows me away. This debut from Mike Chen is a masterpiece that you wouldn’t want to miss, especially if you’re into sci-fi, time travel, Doctor Who, and Star Trek. If you’re passionate about those four items, I can assure you, this book will take you to cloud nine.

Surprisingly, Mike Chen managed to mix the perfect amount of drama and romance into this story without ruining the essential thrilling part. I have no idea how he was able to come up with his magic, but whatever it is, it works. Perfectly. Not too sappy and drama oriented, yet not too cocky with all of its high-tech universe. Every little detail from the future universe sounds astonishing and believable without belittling our current world, as bad as it actually is. This book is something that will push the imaginative side of your brain with every scene in it. Personally, I feel this book has a big opportunity to get adapted into the big screen!

This book is published today and if you’re interested to purchase a copy for yourself while also supporting my blog, you can buy it through my affiliate link on Book Depository with free shipping everywhere!

Have you read this book? What do you think of it?

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

Published by Berkley Books on January 22, 2019. Classified as Mystery & Thriller. Received via Edelweiss as an eARC. 

 

 

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry. 

 

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years since he left home to go traveling. This time it’s personal.

 

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . .

[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Death, violence.[/su_spoiler]

[su_button url=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BMV45V8/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07BMV45V8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2″ target=”blank” size=”5″ style=”flat” background=”#eba960″ color=”#ffffff” left=”yes” radius=”square”]BUY ON AMAZON[/su_button] [su_button url=”https://www.bookdepository.com/Suspect-Fiona-Barton/9781787630222?ref=grid-view&qid=1547368379082&sr=1-12?a_aid=artsydraft” target=”blank” size=”5″ style=”flat” background=”#6e7d75″ color=”#ffffff” left=”yes” radius=”square”]BUY ON BOOK DEPOSITORY[/su_button]

Artsy Draft receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above.

★★★½

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]REVIEW[/su_heading]

The Suspect was a steady thrilling story with a back and forth story telling and multiple POVs. This is my first time to read Fiona Barton’s work, so I’m not sure if this is her earmark, but I enjoyed it. I’ve read a few books with the similar style that turned up to be pretty bad, because it ended up to be confusing rather than interesting. But for The Suspect, I’d say that it works perfectly.


“Two teenage girl backpackers in Thailand have been reported missing by their families.”

The only problem that I have is the mysteries was unsolved way too fast and bit by bit. Not exactly my favorable way to find out who’s the bad guy is. Hence, I can also predict most of the story line since the earlier chapters and it totally lessen the mystery and thrilling essence.

She’s ruining everything. I could kill her.

But other than too fast to reveal mystery, I’m okay with the other aspects of this book. The characters was interesting enough to keep me attached to each of their own story and motive, the relationship between the protagonists and antagonists was quite dynamic and the mixing of objectivity and subjectivity was at the right balance. It’s a pretty good suspense story. However, this book doesn’t amaze me.  I’m not sure whether I’ll read other works from Barton, but I saw a few reviews saying that The Widow and The Child was better than this book, so I might pick it up later in the future.

[su_button url=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BMV45V8/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07BMV45V8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2″ target=”blank” size=”5″ style=”flat” background=”#eba960″ color=”#ffffff” left=”yes” radius=”square”]BUY ON AMAZON[/su_button] [su_button url=”https://www.bookdepository.com/Suspect-Fiona-Barton/9781787630222?ref=grid-view&qid=1547368379082&sr=1-12?a_aid=artsydraft” target=”blank” size=”5″ style=”flat” background=”#6e7d75″ color=”#ffffff” left=”yes” radius=”square”]BUY ON BOOK DEPOSITORY[/su_button]

Artsy Draft receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above.

Image credits: Jacky ZengSérgio Alves Santos

The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes

The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes

Published by Bookouture on November 22, 2018. Classified as Mystery & Thriller. Received via NetGalley as an eARC.

When Ella wakes up in a hospital following a hit-and-run incident, she is scared and confused. Close to tears, her eyes fall on a get-well-soon card on the window sill and the nurse reassures her that her loving husband will be back soon… But Ella has never been married.

In fact, she has lived alone her whole adult life; working hard, rarely socialising, quietly harbouring a terrible secret from her past. Fear sweeps through Ella when she instantly recognises the man who enters the ward. He is not her husband, but she knows that she must do as he says and play the part of dutiful wife.

What choice does she have? He was there the night of the fire, he knows her secret too…

[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Abduction, blood, death, rapes, violence.[/su_spoiler]

[su_button url=”https://amzn.to/2QZlZtv” target=”blank” size=”5″ style=”flat” background=”#eba960″ color=”#ffffff” left=”yes” radius=”square”]BUY ON AMAZON[/su_button] [su_button url=”https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Liar-s-Wife/9781786816696?a_aid=artsydraft” target=”blank” size=”5″ style=”flat” background=”#6e7d75″ color=”#ffffff” left=”yes” radius=”square”]BUY ON BOOK DEPOSITORY[/su_button]

Artsy Draft receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above.

★★★★★

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]REVIEW[/su_heading]

I haven’t read an utterly satisfying thriller in years (well, except And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, but she’s a legend already so you know what I meant), so I’m really glad to found this one. I’m not going to lie, my first impression when I saw the title, cover and summary is… ‘Okay. Shari Lapena’s major vibes here’. Well, guess what? It’s not Shari Lapena. It’s better. And let me explain why.

Work, home, sleep.

We started with our main character, Ella, who’s very close about her life. She doesn’t have friends in her office, even after working there for couple of years. A nice guy from the office, Liam, seems to always want to be her friend. However, even after getting approached multiple times and got ask to hangout (non-romantically), Ella still ignored him, politely of course. There are hints here and there that showed us Ella actually wants to make friends and socialize, but something always stopped her. She has a secret, a dark one, that stop her from being her old, happy self. So, Ella continued her life. Work, home, sleep. A bit of embroidery as a hobby. Her life is a repeating pattern, even her flat’s neighbor noticed her cores without needing to talk to her. Until one day, when she was on her way back from the office, she got hit by a van and woke up in a hospital… with someone from her past. And he knows her secret too.

Earlier chapters showed us a quick throwback scenes to Ella & Maggie’s life in university. Maggie is Ella’s only best friend and these throwback chapters are actually my favorites, since I got to learn a little bit more about Ella, something that I can’t do from her present self. In these throwback chapters, we also got hints about people from Ella’s past, like Zach, the guy Ella used to date, Zach’s friends, a random creep that also went to the same college, and also Harry, Ella’s twin brother. These throwback chapters was also acts as clues that guided us to Ella’s secret. It was very comforting to read these chapters since you’ll witness that Ella used to be cheerful and carefree. But it was also intense at the same time, because in these chapters, there are probably important details that will point to Ella’s secret, but you’ll never know which one it is until you got the end of the story.

She’d had enough of feeling different, of always being the girl who didn’t join in. 

I’m usually a fan of dynamic pace when it comes to mystery/thriller. Something slow and stable is usually not working for me. I either got lazy because I feel there’s nothing ever going to be happened and continued to read half-heartedly, or I carelessly decided, so early, that I don’t enjoy the book. And I know, this is a bad habit but I’m working on it. However, The Liar’s Wife was a bit stagnant in its first few chapters. And weirdly, I’m okay with it. Sure, Ella got hit by a van and someone from her past appeared out of nowhere, is far from dull. It’s exciting and intense. But other than that, we still have no idea who’s this person is or what’s his intention, up until the half of the book. And no, I’m not saying everything’s going to be reveal at this point, but I’m talking about the first actual clue that I think will be matter in this story. Can you believe that?! I read up until half of the book just to think I found the first clue! However, I enjoyed the slow and painful build up, knowing that whatever twists this book is going to have, it will be worth the wait. And it does worth the wait. 

The last thing that I want to mention is the amazingly-written characters and plot by Hayes. Every characters was described so vividly. Ella’s fear was captivating and make me wondered, what’s her secret, really?! Is it so bad that staying with Jacob, her kidnapper, is better than getting consequences for whatever it is she’s trying to keep as a secret?! And Jacob’s in control movements, how dangerous he sounds both when he’s loving and when he’s raging, was described so perfectly. One third of the book and I’m already so sick everytime Jacob said “Ella-bella”. I can practically listened his singing voice at this point. And lastly, Liam’s kindness and forbearance was hitting me right in the heart. He just wants to get to know Ella and that’s it. His presence was an actual portrayal of how the readers must be feel when reading this book and I think it’s very clever of Hayes for bringing his character to make us sink deeper into the story.

I have nothing else to say, because I’m afraid I’ll spoil the plot for others that haven’t read this book yet. But most importantly, I love the twists in this book, I love getting manipulated by suspecting a lot of people and making up theories of my own, I just love this book. 

If you’re looking forward to purchase this book (and support my blog!), you can purchase it through my affiliate links below!
[su_button url=”https://amzn.to/2QZlZtv” target=”blank” size=”5″ style=”flat” background=”#eba960″ color=”#ffffff” left=”yes” radius=”square”]BUY ON AMAZON[/su_button] [su_button url=”https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Liar-s-Wife/9781786816696?a_aid=artsydraft” target=”blank” size=”5″ style=”flat” background=”#6e7d75″ color=”#ffffff” left=”yes” radius=”square”]BUY ON BOOK DEPOSITORY[/su_button]

Artsy Draft receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above.

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]PIN THIS POST![/su_heading]

Enjoy this review? Share the words by pinning this post!

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE[/su_heading]

Still not sure about this book? Read what others said about it:

  • “Absolutely recommend this dark and twisted story with an ending that I definitely did not see coming.” – Berit @ Audio Killed the Bookmark
  • “The reveals are fantastic—readers will not be disappointed with this one!” – Mackenzie @ PhDiva
  • “Without doubt an excellent psychological thriller and a very satisfying read despite some difficult themes.” – Yvonne @ It’s All About Books

Image credits: Ryan Riggings & A. L..

Sugar Lane Vol.1 by Harlow Hayes

Sugar Lane Vol.1 by Harlow Hayes

Published by Harlow Hayes Books on November 19, 2018. Classified as Suspense & Women’s Fiction. Received via RABT Book Tours & PR as an eARC.

The night of Christmas Eve changes everything for Rhema Clark, a 36-year-old housewife living on quiet Sugar Lane. One day she is hosting a birthday party for her 9-year-old son, Julian, the next she is watching her neighborhood become the backdrop for the perfect murder. 


To gain power, Rhema inserts herself into the lives of the residents of Sugar Lane. She knows they have secrets, but none of them run deeper than her own. On the outside she is a kind and caring neighbor, but on the inside, something sinister lurks beneath. The media storm surrounding this murder could destroy her secret life and expose her for what she is. 


But will her lust for power override her desire to keep her secrets?

[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Abuse, blood, death, fat phobia, violence.[/su_spoiler]

[su_button url=”https://amzn.to/2CJovMH” target=”blank” size=”5″ style=”flat” background=”#eba960″ color=”#ffffff” left=”yes” radius=”square”]BUY ON AMAZON[/su_button]

Artsy Draft receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above.

★★★★

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]REVIEW[/su_heading]

This is probably one of the most evil book that I’ve ever encountered. Now you might be confused. Four stars yet it’s evil? That’s right. I never thought I’d like it during the first few pages. Because man oh man, it’s full of negativity and I couldn’t stand it! The summary wasn’t lying, though. Our main character was sinister since the first scene. You know those feeling when you saw something really bad happened in front of your eyes? You try to look away because it makes you uncomfortable, yet you can’t control yourself and end up keep looking back at it? That’s exactly what I felt, at least during the first half of this book.

Hannah was a monster, and she knew because a monster could always recognize another monster.

My favorite part of this novelette is definitely its characters. The plot was interesting, though. But I don’t see them as a very special and mind-blowing one.  It was pretty good, but the characters make it great. I love the fact that even with its short pages, Hayes can generate such a complex character. And not just one (and maybe more on the next book, who knows?!). Hayes wants us to see these characters for their evil acts and the sinister-being within them, yet she also successfully deliver something… very human. I’m not good with words and I’m not sure how to explain that previous sentence without spoiling everyone. So, you really need to check this book by yourself. All I gotta say is I can’t wait to read the next book and find out Rhema’s dark secrets. Final thought? 4 out of 5 stars.

[su_accordion][su_accordion] [su_spoiler title=”Read Excerpt” style=”fancy”]“Please wait! I have another coupon,” said the woman standing in the checkout line, rummaging through her purse. “I’m so sorry,” she said, looking back at Rhema and the ten other people that stood in line behind her.

Rhema stood calm, but internally, she raged. The sound of the registers opening and closing was beginning to overwhelm her senses, and a pounding headache was eating at her brain. She reached into her purse and grabbed an Excedrin. Christmas was a week away, and a store trip
that should have taken fifteen minutes had now become forty. She had fought her way through the aisles with her shopping cart, her list crumpled in hand. She felt the sweat dripping from her back as she hurried past the lackadaisical shoppers blocking the aisleways. Now the checkout line was backed up.

“It’s all right. I’m in no hurry at all,” she said, sarcasm dripping from her lips. She wanted to strangle the woman. The woman should have had what she needed, out and ready to go before she got to the front of the line. They had all been standing there so long she thought she could see wrinkles forming on her hands. Rhema stared hard at the woman, taking particular notice of her pregnant belly. Four little hooligans ran around her, pulling items from the checkout shelves. One ran back and forth through the exit doors, blocking exiting shoppers.

Rhema had seen them earlier, running and screaming up and down every aisle, terrorizing the last-minute shoppers, making demands. Rhema smiled inside, knowing that she would never be that woman, who she figured to be a halfwit. That was the only excuse for allowing her children
to walk all over her. She was one of the stupid ones, letting everyone else run their lives. Rhema had made up her mind: She hated her.

Rhema looked into her cart and saw the condensation around her tub of ice cream. It was melting, and she couldn’t stand melted ice cream.

Take the tub and throw it at the woman’s head. The thought made her feel better while she waited. Her mind ran through the list of things she had to do. She had been roped into doing so much that now she was the stupid woman. It was the holidays, and she wondered why people thought that she didn’t have better things to do with her time. She had been pressured into
helping her neighbor with her oldest daughter’s wedding and the younger one’s graduation party after getting ambushed one morning in her driveway on the way to the mailbox. Mrs. Kelly, struggling to get a rug into her car, had asked Rhema for help. Rhema had seen her struggling,
but she’d hoped that her presence had gone unnoticed.

“Rhema, I’m so glad to see you. Could you come help me with this?” Mrs. Kelly asked. Rhema walked over to help, but she resented her asking. Her husband, David, was the only reason she was being so nice. David had just scolded her the day before for not being friendly to the neighbors.

“Why do you have to act so cold?” he’d asked. “I like this house and this neighborhood for Julian, and I don’t want to have to pick up and leave because you’re acting weird and can’t make any friends.”

Rhema didn’t like him either, or that’s what she told herself anyway. I am only staying for Julian. That was what she believed. The truth was something else. Deep down, she loved David, and even on their worst days, he was the best in bed, and that was hard for Rhema to give up, so she stayed.

“I can help the next customer here!” a cashier yelled out. Rhema was next, but a handful of people with fewer items at the end of the line beat her to it. Her face turned red as she squeezed the handle of her shopping cart, knuckles white. She was ready to ram the woman in front of her, and her children.

“Here it is!” the woman shouted. The people in line sighed in relief.

Rhema placed her items on the conveyor belt and took her money out of her purse. She was elated. It was finally her turn. She had stood in line so long, feet hurting in her six-inch boots and needing to pee, but it would have to wait; public restrooms weren’t appealing to her. But at least relief was coming soon. It was the only thing keeping her going. She looked up from her wallet, and her smile went back to a frown. Standing at the register was the store manager and the cashier.

“Sorry, ma’am, we have to change out the drawers.”

Rhema burned with anger, furious at the delay. She imagined jumping the counter and stabbing the man in the eye with her car keys.

When she finished at checkout, she rushed to her car. Feet throbbing, she loaded the groceries, fighting the frigid cold. Her mind ran nonstop as more things were added to her to-do list. The wedding, the graduation party, and then there was Christmas, but today was Julian’s birthday, and after nine o’clock that was one thing that she could scratch off of her list. There was a
moment of peace as the cold wind flickered past her face. Rhema reached into the shopping cart to grab the last bag. When she picked it up to place it in the back, she heard the ruffling rip of the plastic bag, and the container of ice cream fell out and splattered on the ground, covering her three-hundred-dollar boots in chocolate vanilla swirl.

“Fuck!” she screamed, stomping her feet like a child as the sludge of dirty half-melted snow and ice cream splattered further up her boots. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”

“Hey! Watch your mouth. My children don’t need to hear that filthy language,” a woman on the other side of the parking aisle scolded.

Rhema turned to see a woman ushering her brood of children down the parking aisle, noses snotty and red, their bodies so layered with winter clothing they looked like miniature Michelin men.

“I swear, the nerve of some people. Using filthy language like that in public. What a disgrace.”

“What’s wrong with her, Mommy?” one of the smaller children asked.

“Don’t pay her any mind, honey. Just trash.”

She stared at Rhema with scorn, as if she were untouchable, but Rhema knew different. Everyone was touchable. People with money had a false sense of security. They believed that they could say anything to anyone and get away with numerous slights and outright disrespect toward people they believed were less than them. She was an entitled woman, just like the
woman in line. They could do and say whatever they wanted because their money allowed it.

Rhema remembered looking down at their rings as she shopped, their hands glistening on the cart handles. Three- and four-carat diamond rings, sparkling, screaming their status in the world. Rhema looked down at her own ring, just as large in size, but she knew that she was nothing like them.
She had ice cream on her boots, and she had to pee. Rhema knew she couldn’t threaten the woman’s safety, but she could make her uncomfortable. She pulled her hands up from her sides and felt an amazing sense of power as she used her two long, slim middle fingers give the
woman something that she wasn’t expecting. The woman gasped and pushed her children on toward the store, and Rhema stomped what she could of the ice cream off of her boots and got into her car.

She sat there for a moment, collecting her bearings. Looking in the rearview mirror, she saw that she had left the shopping cart sitting behind her SUV. Another delay. She wanted to ram it into the car of the woman that reprimanded her. Reaching for the car door, she got an idea and stopped. Popping the hatch open, she grabbed her wallet, stepped out, and walked to the trunk. Behind the mound of groceries was David’s hunting bag. Rhema reached over the shopping bags and grabbed it. As she unzipped it, her body tingled with excitement. She reached in, grabbing the large Buck hunting knife that rested at the bottom. She slipped the knife in her boot and closed the hatch, gripping the shopping cart and her wallet. She walked over to the cart return, right next to the car of the reprimander. Rhema pushed the cart into the crammed space and walked closer to the woman’s 2016 Range Rover. She fumbled with her Gucci wallet in her hand and let it fall into the greasy slushlike snow.

Rhema looked around to make sure there were no eyes on her. She bent down to pick it up, and once she was down and out of view, she slid the Buck knife out of her boot, removed it from its sleeve, and stabbed it into the back driver’s side tire. As the air slowly deflated, a smile stretched
across Rhema’s face. She placed the knife back in its sleeve and stuffed it back into her boot before standing. She wiped the water from her wallet, walked back to her car, and drove home.[/su_spoiler] [/su_accordion]

If you’re looking forward to purchase this book (and support my blog!), you can purchase it through my affiliate links below!

[su_button url=”https://amzn.to/2CJovMH” target=”blank” size=”5″ style=”flat” background=”#eba960″ color=”#ffffff” left=”yes” radius=”square”]BUY ON AMAZON[/su_button]

Artsy Draft receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above.

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]PIN THIS POST![/su_heading]

Enjoy this review? Share the words by pinning this post!

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]AUTHOR[/su_heading]

Harlow Hayes was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and is the author of fiction and non-fiction books. She has always had a passion for writing and storytelling in its many forms. When she’s not immersed in her writing, she enjoys reading both fiction and non-fiction, watching classic movies, and listening to jazz with her dad. She is the author of 27 Revelations and You Got to Believe: A Guide to Managing Negative Influences and Expectations As You Prepare to Self-publish Your Book. She currently lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]GIVEAWAY[/su_heading]

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Image credit:  Zach Guinta