Monthly Archives: January 2011

Lavender Dawn by Isabelle

She tried not to panic.

Their footsteps were soft, delicate prances on the old wooden floors. The only reason she knew they were close is because the grain would crack just slightly, would dip and creak just enough to give away their proximity. But they moved fast. Too fast for her to know for sure which direction they were coming in.

Drawing her knees into her chest she held them tight, blinking through watery eyes, taking quiet, shallow breaths.

It was happening again. They were coming for her.

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Lilly’s Bridge by Lisa

I found her sitting on the edge of the little bridge near our house when I was seven. I wasn’t supposed to go down by the bridge alone—it was small, but the stream it ran over was deep enough, and fast moving—but I went anyhow, usually on my way home from school. The bus dropped me off far up a private road, and I walked up the road all by myself, very adult-like, so why couldn’t I go walk by a bridge if I wanted to?

The girl’s name was Lilly, and she always wore a white dress.  Crisp and clean cotton, with starched lace on the collar.  I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen—but then I was seven.  She was so happy to see me!  She’d ask me about my day at school and listen to absolutely anything I had to say, even something as silly as how Tommy Walker had stuck his gum in Myra Boning’s hair, and she’d come back to school with all of it chopped off.  Mom didn’t like listening to those kinds of things, but Lilly would laugh and laugh, and ask for more stories. She was desperate for stories, she’d tell me.

Lilly was eleven, and she didn’t like to tell stories.  When I asked about her family, she told me crossly that it wasn’t polite to ask personal questions, and when I reminded her that she knew all about my life, it seemed like she was going to maybe tell me, but instead she went down by the shore and started splashing in the water.  She called for me to come down with her.  I really wasn’t supposed to go down to the shore by myself, but Lilly called again, and when I still didn’t go, she asked if I was a baby, so I went. I wasn’t a baby.

Our days and days went back and forth.  Some days we played in the stream, some days we explored the woods surrounding us, and some days we just sat and talked and talked. No matter what she did, her dress always stayed perfectly white. I was jealous because my clothes always managed to get dirty and wet, and I got in trouble for it. Lilly never did.

Mom knew I’d been down to the river, and sometimes she’d ground me for it, asking me why I would do something like that when everyone knew it was so dangerous? Lilly didn’t like it when I was grounded—she’d get mad, but she also wouldn’t stop getting me into trouble.

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thephoneix’s bookbag: Switched by Amanda Hocking (A review)


I got to admit that whenever I’m in my local bookstore I always find myself in the YA section fascinated by all the gorgeous covers. I know I should probably at least read a few pages before making a final purchase, but yeah it usually boils down to the pretty cover. I know, I know it’s shameful, but come on who doesn’t fall for a pretty picture every now and then.

So last weekend I found myself in the same predicament and I stumbled across “Switched” by Amanda Hocking. I’ve never read one of her books before, but I was intrigued by the blurb, the cover, and strangely enough the font on the cover as well. Did I forget to mention that I’m a sucker for font as well?

Switched” starts off with main character Wendy Everly on the day of her sixth birthday where she finds herself facing off with her mother who literally thinks her daughter is a monster and aims to kill her. Fast forward eleven years later, and Wendy begins to fear that she is indeed the monster that her mother proclaimed her to be. Between discovering an ability that she never knew she had as well as thinking that the new mysterious boy might be stalking her, Wendy isn’t too sure what to believe in. Just when she thinks she’s finally found somewhere to belong, she finds out there’s more than a homecoming waiting for her.

Now I don’t want to give anything away, but I was definitely intrigued when I found out exactly just what and who Wendy is. After reading so many vampires and fairies book, it was a pleasure to see another magical being getting some time in the YA world. I would definitely recommend this book as a quick and pleasurable read. At times the pace was a bit too slow to me and the ending will leave you with two reactions…grumpy or eagerly searching out for the sequel. Either way I give it a solid B. So has anyone read this? If so, what do you think of it? And have you read the sequel, “Torn” yet?

Gimlet by Lisa

I was seven when we moved into the house.  It was a huge place—a mansion, really.  I remember tiptoeing through the rooms like it was a museum, afraid to touch any of the ornate furniture.

My parents got it for a ridiculously low price.  Mom thought it must mean the house was a lemon, but Dad’s a contractor, and he checked the whole thing out himself.  I guess the reason it was so cheap was because people thought it was haunted.  Things would happen in the house… furniture would move, messes would be made that no one in the house saw happen.  It spooked people.  The house had been relisted seven times in the past five years.

My parents don’t believe in things like that, so it didn’t stop them from snapping the house up.  Little things did start to happen, but usually they just blamed me for it.  It wasn’t me.  It was him.

I liked to call him Gimlet.  We’d lived in the house for almost six months when I first saw him.  He was a tiny little man, maybe eight inches tall, with disproportionately wide hips and an oversized nose—everything else about him was thin and bony.  He was a very strange little man.

He was angry when I discovered him, toppling over the bobbins of thread in my mother’s sewing room.  He screamed at me in a language I didn’t understand, jumping up and down in a rage.  I think he was mad that we’d come and lived in his house without asking him.

I tried to tell my parents about Gimlet, but they thought I was making up stories.  When I showed my mother the sewing room, she folded her arms and gave me a lecture about how I should never blame things on other people—especially imaginary ones.

After that, Gimlet wouldn’t let me sleep at night.  He’d come in and pull my hair and pinch my nose and make a ruckus, right next to my ears.  I didn’t know what to do.  I tried telling Mom about him again, but she was still mad about the sewing room, and she just ignored me.

And then it hit me.  Maybe Gimlet wasn’t so bad… maybe I just wasn’t treating him the way I should be.  I was a Girl Scout, after all… I knew what Brownies were.  Brownies were helpful creatures.  I didn’t know if Gimlet was a Brownie, but it gave me an idea.

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A New Year, A New Us

So, loyal readers, as you can see, Hollow Tree has undergone some changes — just as we promised.

Lisa and I put some thought into it and we realized that though we loved our original purpose for Hollow Tree, real life can often put a damper on the best laid plans.

But fear not! We are nowhere near done with this place. Instead, we’ve decided to tweak its purpose, just enough to keep it interesting, but not too much to make it something altogether new.

Check out our new mission statement and join us on a new, exciting journey as we take on something we’ve never done before…

Lisa and Isabelle have been writing partners for years, playing sounding board and cheerleader for each other.  Their tastes are similar while their styles are unquestionably different.  One thing they’re both passionate about, though, is YA Fantasy and paranormal.

This blog is a writing challenge for us, and a treasure of free reads for you.  Sometimes book reviews and interviews will be thrown in as well, but the main focus will be on sharing one short story per week, either by Lisa or Isabelle.

Our intent is to find and share new worlds, just a step beyond our own.  To follow Alice down the rabbit hole, take the second star to the right and step through that dresser drawer… only we’ve been all those places before.  And there are many, many more waiting to be found if we know where to look.  It’s those little entrances that we seek out here, a glassy pond, a locked door, a hollow tree…

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