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Wildcat Fireflies: A Meridian Novel Hardcover – July 12, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Fenestra Series

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Thanks for the Trouble
Thanks for the Trouble
A brilliant new novel about a young man who overcomes a crippling loss and finds the courage to live after meeting an enigmatic girl. Hardcover | Kindle book

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

AMBER KIZER is not one of those authors who wrote complete books at the age of three and always knew she wanted to be a writer. She merely enjoyed reading until a health challenge, beginning in college, forced her to start living outside the box. After one writing workshop, she fell in love with telling stories; a million pages of prose later she still loves it. When she's not reading from a huge stack, she's coaxing rosebushes to blossom, watching delightful teen angst on television, or quilting with more joy than skill. She takes her tea black, her custard frozen, and her men witty. She lives in the Seattle area on a veritable Noah's Ark, with a pair of dogs, a pair of cats, 15 pairs of chickens, and uncounted pairs of shoes—without the big boat and only some of the rain.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER 1

“Pulloverpulloverpullover!” I screeched as we approached the outskirts of another small town.

One more bump, one more pothole sitting in this beater truck, and I was going to lose my mind. Tens and I were just past three weeks from leaving the wreckage of Revelation, Colorado, on our Divine-tasked quest to find other Fenestra. More people, girls, like me. More Protectors like Tens. Supposedly, there was one, somewhere in the state of Indiana, who needed our help.

“Pleasepleaseplease!” Now at the tail end of January, it had been nearly a month since Jasper’s granddaughter brought us the newspaper article about a cat who predicted deaths and a girl called the Grim Reaper.

It was impossible to think in the bouncing, flouncing truck. I refused to inhale any more hay dust, mud particles, and springs of decades past, not for another second. I heard my brain rolling in circles around the inside of my skull like a Super Ball. “We’ve been driving for lifetimes, Tens. Pull over!” I shouted.

Unflappable as always, Tens didn’t take his eyes off the road. “Meridian, we’re almost there. It hasn’t been that long today. You’re exagger--”

I cut him off. “Long enough. I need to stretch. Just for a minute. Here’s good.” I reached for the door handle as we passed a sign proclaiming Welcome to Carmel, Indiana.

“Here?” He slowed, but didn’t stop the truck.

I needed out.

Right.

Now.

“Here.” I leapt out. As Tens parked the truck along the curb, I breathed in warm pre-spring air, huffing and puffing like I’d been running instead of sitting.

Custos sprang out of the truck bed, disappearing into the shadows. If I glanced around, I knew I’d see her. But knowing she was watching from the periphery was enough for the moment. I hadn’t truly figured out whether she was more than dog, more than wolf. But I suspected.

Tens unfolded and walked around to the front of the cab, waiting for me like one of the Queen’s guards. I knew that expression. All patience, calm, and deliberation. He used it with wild animals in traps.

I closed my eyes against the irritation with him I felt bubbling up. “I have a feeling about this place.” I knew it as truth, as soon as the words left my mouth.

Tens brushed the area with his glance, taking in every detail, assessing our safety in a blink. “Good or bad?”

Frustrated, I blew out a snort and rubbed my palms on my thighs. Our third day on the road, the newspaper article had mysteriously gone blank, the ink disappearing. Now all we had left was flimsy newsprint and our memories to guide us. I kept expecting another sign. Something I recognized, something that told me we were on the right path. Only nothing presented itself. Each day flowed into the next and failure frayed my edges.

Where was she? This mysterious girl like me, hunted by the Nocti, needed by the good, by everything that was light, clean and pure. What was she thinking? Was she wishing someone would fall from the sky and tell her she wasn’t a freak? Or did she understand her destiny and feel confident in herself?

“Meridian? Good or bad feeling?” Tens loped toward me, carefully keeping his distance. I didn’t bite, but I’d been cranky enough lately that I understood his reticence.

“I don’t know yet.” I turned away, trying to puzzle out the gut feeling twisting me up. “Why don’t you sense it, too? Why can’t you sense her? What good is your gift if we can’t count on it? What if we don’t find her? Are we supposed to drive every road in the state, and the next state, and then . . . what? Canada? Mexico? I can’t believe we’re supposed to drive around for the rest of our lives eating burgers and sleeping in crappy motels.” We had plenty of money, thanks to Auntie. What we didn’t want to do was grab the interest of authorities--the last thing we needed was a Good Samaritan wanting to rescue a minor from life on the road. Although sixteen and old enough to drop out of high school, I still resembled a barely pubescent girl. I didn’t look a day over fourteen, and Tens’s intimidating nature screamed criminal. Not a good combination for keeping a low profile.

“You’re tired.” He said this like it explained everything, including my volatile attitude.

Pissed, I hissed up at him, “Don’t patronize me.” Of course I was tired. We never ceased driving, not for more than a few hours at a time. We’d been to every retirement and nursing home from the southern Indiana border to the middle of the state. I walked in circles, kicking the truck’s tires.

I craved a bit of balance, stillness for my soul. Direction wasn’t enough on this quest; I wanted a clear purpose. What was the point of sending us out in blind ignorance? Not for the first time I wished for a conversation with the Creators--the rule makers. I wanted one of those comment cards. Fenestras shouldn’t have to operate alone and vastly outmatched by the community of Nocti, who had each other and leaders and clear mandates to destroy and bring suffering. Me--my team? We simply had journeys and lessons and growth. Yee-haw for the good guys.

Tens sighed and leaned over the hood of the truck. “Fine, you’re not tired. You’re thinking clearly and you’re not wailing like a toddler who didn’t get the lollipop. Tantrum much?” He rested his face in his hand, huffed a breath, and straightened toward me.

My mouth gaped. Then I choked back an utterly bitchy retort. He was right. He was always right. “Wow. Harsh.”

“Yeah, sorry. No excuse.” He softly brushed hair off my neck and kneaded the muscles knotted in my shoulders, successfully turning my claws into purrs. “I’m hungry. You have to be hungry. Let’s go in there.” He kissed the top of my head and turned me gently toward the restaurant behind us. He patted my butt flirtatiously, shocking a giggle from my throat.



 
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 630L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (July 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385739710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385739719
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,918,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hello bibliophiles,

Thanks for finding me here on Amazon. I'm thrilled to say I've moved into the hybrid author category and now am also publishing books directly to Kindle. I've always loved Christmas romances so this year I wrote my own. WISH is available directly to Kindle so be sure to check it out.

I delve into taboos with my stories--PIECES OF ME looks at the connections formed by pediatric organ donation, A MATTER OF DAYS is my ode to survivalists, the Meridian books deal with dying and death, and my Gert books take on human sexuality and "good girls." All are wrapped up in stories I hope have readers entertained and turning those pages.

When I'm writing there's always a candle going--with the correct scent for the book of course! The wrong candle can make me nauseous so I'm often in candle stores sniffing and snorting and thinking about projects! A MATTER OF DAYS candle was "dirt" and came from a great shop in Indiana. MERIDIAN was pine and fire, SPEED OF LIGHT grape bubblegum. ONE BUTT CHEEK AT A TIME required hazelnut coffee and that held true for the second in that series FROM BUTT TO BOOTY. My middle grade novel from Penguin coming out summer 2016 has been scented of fresh tomato!

Like the character of Auntie in MERIDIAN, I quilt. You can see photos of completed projects on my websites. I'm most proud of the quilts I've made and sent to The Freedom Quilt Project which matches quilts with families who've had a service person killed in action.

I have lots of animals: a dog, cats, a rooster named Hunk and a flock of hens who wander our property in Puget Sound. I like watching the nature channel out the windows and have fed wild birds for years.

I read 20 or more books concurrently. Everything is game for me--I never know when a character or book will need a certain piece of information so I read obscure to the popular, fiction and non, YA and adult. I change books the way other people change the channel. If you're interested in what I like visit my personal website and check out the best of page where I list books I'm reading and my thoughts.

I'm addicted to trashy reality television--I'm sure you've wondered who the people are who watch those VH1 and MTV love shows--that'll be me! I adore sour candy like Sour Patch Kids, Gummy Worms, and hard jawbreakers. I'm always listening to loud music--be it pop, international hits, classical, musical or metal. There's a soundtrack/playlist for each of my projects and it helps me get into the writing zone faster to have the right music going.

I'm grateful for the awards my books have received but nothing beats a heartfelt message from a reader who found comfort, solace, joy, perspective or something else personal in one of my stories. PIECES OF ME received a Kirkus star, Kirkus Award Nominee, and incredible blurbs from some of my favorite authors. A MATTER OF DAYS is a Lonestar Book in Texas, a finalist for the Truman award, Cybil Award nominee. MERIDIAN was an Arkansas state book award winner.

I love connecting with readers--find me on Facebook, twitter @writeamberkizer, my official website: AmberKizer.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
After thoroughly enjoying Amber Kizer's debut novel, Meridian, I've been looking forward to the sequel, Wildcat Fireflies, for a long time. Meridian was such an enjoyable, fun debut novel that I was completely pulled into Meridian's world of Fenestras and souls that I wanted to know more. After what felt like far too long, I was able to get my hands on Wildcat Fireflies, which continued Meridian's adventures in new and unexpected ways.

Now that Meridian knows her destiny as a Fenestra, a sort of half-angel whose job is to act as a sort of "window" for dead souls as they pass on to the next life, she's learning to cope with it, along with her relationship with guardian and love interest Tens and her Auntie's recent passing. Meridian and Tens set out in hopes of finding other Fenestra, and to help train them. Their search leads them to Juliet, an abused young woman who lives in a nursing home with a collection of other children whom she looks after -and works to survive under the harsh rule of the Mistress.

I was surprised with Wildcat Fireflies, mostly because it was so different in style and approach than Meridian. I wouldn't say this surprise was bad at all (in fact, it was a pleasant surprise, since the book was so different from the first one), since Wildcat Fireflies didn't read as a clone of Meridian, but rather as a true continuation of the series with some interesting new characters. Most notably, Juliet, who becomes a strong focus of the novel, as the point of view frequently switches between her and Meridian. There were times where I felt like Juliet's story was so sympathetic and powerful in the novel that it seemed to overtake Meridian's story, and I was wanted to get back to Juliet and be there to help her fight through her terrible life.

A good read, Wildcat Fireflies is a well-written adventure that captures the character's emotions and struggles so powerfully that readers will be completely drawn in and be left flipping pages.
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Format: Hardcover
Honestly, I was hoping that Kizer would grow as an author and not do the telling instead of showing again. Instead, she told even more and showed even less. I still got no sense of emotion from these characters. The only thing that made me read this sequel was the fact that the story is interesting. Unfortunately, the story isn't enough to make me read the next one. The emotions and fake "Native American" lore were terrible, and the fake American Indian story was disrespectful, to say the least. Not to mention the fact that the pioneers were called the first Americans, which they weren't. Then she went on to talk about some Native American story that, from what I could tell, was made up. Why is this the only group of people who still gets constantly disrespected? As an American Indian Studies major, that kind of thing really bothers me. Moving on before this entire review turns into a lecture on racism in the 21st Century.

The characters... They all cried at the drop of a hat. I'm assuming this was an attempt to try to show emotion, but it failed miserably. It just made all of the characters seem weak. I got so tired of people crying, but I finished this book so I could review it. I kept thinking maybe it'd get better, but it didn't. The new characters introduced in the book would have been likable had they not burst into tears constantly over nothing. They were all a bit unique and easy to relate to. I felt that Kizer tried too hard to make Rumi different though, and his "word game" thing got really old really fast. We got to learn more about Tens, and that was cool, but he ran around crying like a freaking girl half of the book. It was just obnoxious. And Meridian went from being a likable character to a whiny, jealous brat.
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Format: Hardcover
Pros:
-Meridian gets to use her powers more
-Tens gets more screen time
- Theres more action going on
-The new characters are interesting and likeable (Juliet)
-Meridian and Tens develop a deeper understanding in their relationship which is much more realistic than fall in love and happily ever after

Cons:
- Meridian doesn't handle jealousy very well and throws too many tantrums considering theres bigger problems at stake
-i liked Juliet more than Meridian in this book
-some parts of the book dragged a little

Possible Spoilers!!
I think i liked Meridian better in the first book but its nice to see her grow in her relationship with Tens. Her jealousy and impatience to get laid did get on my nerves a lot though and sometimes i didn't like her very much. I have to be fair because we all go through a phase of getting to trust the other person when its a new relationship but i thought her jealousy and tantrums were a bit excessive given that their lives are in danger and Juliet did need a lot of help. The part where she wanted to stop Tens from rescuing Juliet made me want to slap some sense into her. I was like OK i know you're insecure because he wont sleep with you but Juliet is in danger and your boyfriend doesnt even see her that way, can you be any more SELFISH?? Juliet's portion of the story actually interested me a lot more than Meridian's because Juliet was more relateable to me as messed up as her childhood is. Her messed up background showed me just how strong she really was to survive though all of that. All this time Meridian was whining about her mom not telling her things but here Juliet was suffering 3xs the amount with less whimpering. The last part with Kirian's death made me really sad and wished she had her happy ending with him but i guess i saw it coming. Im debating whether to read the next book if there is one because Meridian got on my nerves so much but if she grows up a little in the
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