Flash Fiction Friday: Ten Minutes of Hope

Alayna stepped back to admire her work.

It had taken hours to create but with the help of her mother and little brother, it was time for the big moment. Or, rather, the ten big moments. That’s all they were allowed anymore now that the government had cut the number of minutes of electricity use to just ten minutes per month.

The Revolution had begun just as any other from history. But this one quickly pulled another country into its fray, then another. What started small had turned into a world-wide threat. Her mother remembered days of heated houses, cars that ran, ample food to fill bellies and a thing called freedom.

A sigh spilled from Alayna as she imagined such a world. She couldn’t complain, though. They were one of the few families that had secured the government issued three-hundred square-foot storage units, unlike the seventy-five percent of the population forced to live on the streets.

“Ready to turn on the lights?” Alayna’s little brother asked.

She nodded. This was it. Her most favorite part of the year. The one time she could pretend that she lived in a world with abundant electricity and enough clothing for all. If she focused on the site before her she could almost ignore the gnaw in her stomach and stink that told her none of them had bathed in a week. She would sear the memory of what was about to happen in her mind to last for a full year.

“The time has come,” her mother said, as she flipped the switch on the wall.

The christmas tree lit with glorious pride and filled the room with the hope of a better world.

Alayna smiled. “Merry Christmas.”


©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017


Photo by Mark Rabe on Unsplash


Book Review: DESTROY ME and FRACTURE ME by Tahereh Mafi

This is the last week of reviews of the “Shatter Me” series by Tahereh Mafi, *Sniff, Sniff* The entire series took up a solid 2 weeks of my life, and this was one series I was sad to see go. If you haven’t seen my previous reviews of the full length novels, check them out here, here and here! Otherwise, read on for my thoughts on the ‘in-between’ novellas that helped round out the characters of Warner and Adam!

DESTROY ME Synopsis:

Perfect for the fans of Shatter Me who are desperately awaiting the release of Unravel Me, this novella-length digital original will bridge the gap between these two novels from the perspective of the villain we all love to hate, Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of. . .

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45. Continue reading

Book Review: IGNITE ME by Tahereh Mafi

Finally! Week #3 in my month long review of Tahereh Mafi’s “Shatter Me” series! This week I review Book 3 in the series–“Ignite Me.” This is the final book in the “Shatter Me” trilogy, although not my last review for the month! Read on to find out more!



The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.

The Review: 5 stars out of 5

I don’t have many words to say other than, Wow. This final book soared far above what my expectations could have conjured in my tiny little imagination! I could not have predicted the direction Tahereh Mafi would go with this story, but was pleasantly surprised when I read that last sentence. *sigh*

Juliette: I’m so happy to see how her character grew throughout this entire series–particularly in this novel alone. At the beginning of the series we see a broken almost soulless being, and it was so fulfilling to see her evolve into a strong confident woman. Yes, this change makes things different between the relationships she has with others, but I felt this depiction was true to life. I enjoyed watching Juliette as she discovered each new facet of her newfound power, and appreciated that her true abilities unfolded slowly over time, and that she didn’t master all elements of herself in a single chapter.

Warner: Ahhh, Warner/Aaron! Definitely not the same person as book 1, but in an entirely welcome way! To be honest, in book 2, I wasn’t so sure how Juliette could have feelings for him (although, strangely, I wanted to have feelings for him, too.) But this book solidifies who he is as a person, and why he is the way he is. It gives hope for him for a future and truly pulled at my heartstrings when Juliette turned him away. By the end, this guy is definitely the one I was rooting for, in all levels of the plot line. Yay, Aaron, for not turning out like daddy. P.S. I also loved that we saw a foreshadowing of where the name of this book came from, back in book 2! 

Kenji: I love this guy. (Who doesn’t, right?) In book 1 he served as more the comic relief character, while in book 2 he moved to annoying leader/friend. But in this book, he truly comes to be Juliette’s best friend, and I loved this about him. He’s always been a major character but somehow I think I viewed him as minor. In this book he breaks free of that mold, however, and he is possibly my favorite character of the entire series now!

Adam: *Spoilers* Oh, Adam. How I wanted to love you. Or even like you, really. Sadly, both Juliette and Adam have changed too much for their relationship to be anything other than toxic. Yes, by the end things have worked themselves out to a tolerable balance. But really, I mostly just wanted to smack this boy throughout the entire novel. Thankfully, Kenji was there to do it for me.

Final thoughts: Okay, so it’s no secret that I love, love, loved this series! Again, I appreciated this final book simply because it was so very different than I thought it would be. Also, I must say, I was counting the pages once I got close to the end. I honestly couldn’t see how Mafi was going to resolve the story effectively with so few pages left! I even went so far as to Google if there was a fourth book coming out. (There isn’t, BTW. *Sniff, sniff*) But just wow. Mafi not only tied up all loose ends, but the ending didn’t even feel rushed, like I thought it might. It ended with hope, but also left it so wide open to allow the reader to consider the direction of things for themselves. Do yourself a favor and give this series a chance!!

Next week I will tackle the novellas that go along with this series. Be sure to check back to see how they affect the overall arc of this fantastic series!

Happy reading, friends!

(“Ignite Me” by Tahereh Mafi is a YA dystopian novel with mild language and mild sexual encounters. Appropriate for older teens and young adults.)


Book Review: UNRAVEL ME by Tahereh Mafi

Here it is! Week #2 of my month long review of Tahereh Mafi’s “Shatter Me” series! This week I review Book 2 in the series–“Unravel Me.” Read on to find out what happens next for Juliette, Adam and Warner! 



it’s almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life. Continue reading

Book Review: SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi

Welcome to week #1 of my month long review of the “Shatter Me” series by Tahereh Mafi!

How on God’s green earth had I never picked this book up? “Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi was released in 2012, and somehow four years (FOUR YEARS!) passed in ignorance. Yes, I had heard it was a best-seller, yes it had been in my Goodreads cue for a hundred years and a day. But did that make me pick it up? No. Because I lack brain cells, apparently. If you get ANYTHING from this review, please let it be the urgency that you must (must must) pick this book up right now! Okay. Rant over. Read on for the review. 



I have a curse
I have a gift

I am a monster
I’m more than human

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. Continue reading

Book Review: A TIME TO RISE by Nadine Brandes

Here it is! My official review of “A Time to Rise” by Nadine Brandes, the final book in the “Out of Time” series! It releases THIS FRIDAY! So read on to hear all about it, and then get your running shoes on so you can run to the bookstore and buy it!

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What more can you sacrifice than your life?

Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world? Continue reading

“A Time to Rise” Tour: Giveaway #2!

Ready for another giveaway? Once again, it’s time to celebrate the release of “A Time to Rise” (Book 3 in the Out of Time series) by Nadine Brandes!

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Last week, as part of the “A Time to Rise” Tour,  I gave away “A Time to Die” magnetic bookmarks to go along with your brand new copy of “A Time to Rise”releasing October 14th! Congratulations to Olivia L. for winning that awesome prize!!

This week’s giveaway is even bigger! Bookmarks are fun and useful, but they don’t have a purpose without a book! So, this week I’m giving away a paperback copy of “A Time to Rise” by Nadine Brandes! Yahoo! What better way to celebrate the release of a book than by giving that book away, right?

So, who wants a free copy of “A Time to Rise”? Enter to win! Simply click on the link below to enter this contest! Next click on the box you want to enter (ex. ‘1 Free Entry’), then the check marked box.The box you’re in should grey out, telling you that your entry for that box is complete! You can earn up to 22 entries!

This contest is now over. Congratulations to Jessica J. for winning this book! Yay! 

You can earn additional entries by sharing on social media! Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post and follow this blog to receive more entries!

Hope you enjoy this contest! Happy reading, friends!

The fine print, blah, blah, blah: Contest ends Sunday, October 9th 11:59pm. Winner will be notified via email. Winner must claim prize w/in 48 hours of notification. Caffeinated Fiction is not responsible for lost or damaged prizes. Prizes cannot be swapped out. This contest is for U.S. residents only. 

“A Time To Rise” Tour: Giveaway!

Have you heard the news? “A Time to Rise” (Book 3 in the ‘Out of Time’ series) by Nadine Brandes will be released October 14! Woo-hoo!!

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For those of you that follow my Book Reviews, you will remember I reviewed “A Time to Die” (Book 1 in the series) in August and “A Time to Speak” (Book 2 in the series) in September. Both garnered 5 star reviews! (You can find those reviews here and here.)

So it’s no surprise that I jumped at the chance to join the “A Time to Rise” Tour just for the fun of getting to give away fun stuff and to (eventually) leave a review of the final book of the trilogy! Who’s ready for a give away? Let’s get started!!

This first round will be for the “Out of Time” series magnetic bookmarks, made uniquely for this book series by the talented HappyHelloCo on Etsy! Follow the instructions below to enter to win these fun bookmarks!! And if you haven’t read this fantastic series yet, head on over to Amazon to purchase your copies so you can use these fun bookmarks as you read!


Okay, who’s ready for the giveaway? Enter now! Simply click on the link below to enter this contest! Next click on the box you want to enter (ex. ‘1 Free Entry’), then the check marked box.The box you’re in should grey out, telling you that your entry for that box is complete! You can earn up to 22 entries!

This contest is now over. Congratulations to Olivia L. on winning this awesome prize!! Tally ho, friends! 

You can earn additional entries by sharing on social media! Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post and follow this blog to receive more entries!

Hope you enjoy this contest! Happy reading, friends!

The fine print, blah, blah, blah: Contest ends Sunday, October 2nd 11:59pm. Winner will be notified via email. Winner must claim prize w/in 48 hours of notification. Caffeinated Fiction is not responsible for lost or damaged prizes. Prizes cannot be swapped out. This contest is for U.S. residents only. 

3 Things I’ve Learned from Pantsing

I was swimming at 6:30 this morning. 


Ok, not really, but it sure felt like it. That’s because the characters in my book made the snap decision to hop in a pond and cool off. I hadn’t planned on this. In fact it doesn’t even really add to the plot. But I found myself writing it, anyway. Ultimately, it was something they would do. At that exact moment, on that exact day, they would have seen that pond and would have decided it was time for some fun. So they did. It also lent an opportunity for a couple of the characters to get closer and learn to trust one another. Win/win, if you ask me. 

I realized this never would have happened if I’d planned this book out like I do all my others. As I’ve said in a recent post, I’m most definitely a ‘plotter’. I plan and plan and plan, until I can’t think of anything else that could possibly happen to the characters or in the plot. Then I start writing.


This whole ‘pantsing’ thing has definitely changed my perspective on a few things. Here are just a couple lessons I’ve learned in the few short weeks I’ve devoted to writing this book: Continue reading

Calling all Readers!

The time has come! I’ve been hinting for months about needing readers for one of my manuscripts and I’ve finally finished the most recent revision! Who’s ready to read?


Here’s what it’s about:

This is a YA dystopian thriller, with the working title “Unveil”, and is book 1 in The Colony Series. This will be the first in a three-book series.


In the only surviving colony after the spread of a deadly disease, Maggie Hunt struggles with her role as an obedient colonist when a forbidden love returns; a fellow classmate attempts to win her heart; and she uncovers new secrets about the colony, learning that there might be more to life outside the walls than they’d been led to believe.

Maggie fights to learn who she can trust, why civilians seem to be disappearing, and the truth behind the military that run the town. Will Maggie survive her senior year and take her role in society as wife and adult? Or will she end up just another number, as a colonist too curious for her own good, becoming part of an experiment from which there is no return?

Sound like something you’d be interested in reading? Continue reading