CONSTELLATION OF ROSES, an emotional and heartwarming coming of age standalone from Miranda Asebedo is available now – check out my review, a little sneak peak + an amazing INTERNATIONAL giveaway and don’t forget to grab yourself a copy of this unique novel!
You can check out other amazing Bloggers/Bookstagrammers for their reviews and post for this brilliant novel on THIS LINK – Hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club ❤
Ever since her mother walked out, Trix McCabe has been determined to make it on her own. And with her near-magical gift for pulling valuables off unsuspecting strangers, Trix is confident she has what it takes to survive. Until she’s caught and given a choice: jail time, or go live with her long-lost family in the tiny town of Rocksaw, Kansas.
Trix doesn’t plan to stick around Rocksaw long, but there’s something special about her McCabe relatives that she is drawn to. Her aunt, Mia, bakes pies that seem to cure all ills. Her cousin, Ember, can tell a person’s deepest secret with the touch of a hand. And Trix’s great-aunt takes one look at Trix’s palm and tells her that if she doesn’t put down roots somewhere, she won’t have a future anywhere.
Before long, Trix feels like she might finally belong with this special group of women in this tiny town in Kansas. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on this new life . . . or keep running from the one she’s always known.
With lovable and flawed characters, an evocative setting, and friendships to treasure, A Constellation of Roses is the perfect companion to Miranda Asebedo’s debut novel The Deepest Roots.
Disclaimer: Please know that the Trigger Warnings for this book include Infidelity, Abuse, Suicidal Ideation, Child Abandonment and Depression.
Trix McCabe is a wonder with her sleight of hand – and not in the magical sense – she is a talented pickpocket. Abandoned by her mother, she lives in a motel frequented by drug dealers and pays for room by cash, every night. While this is not the most ideal circumstances for any teenager, for her it is and will always be better than going back into the system, a system that she isn’t exactly fond of! Everything was fine until it so happened that the cops catch her in action and give two choices either go to jail or move in with relatives she has never even heard of! Yeah no choice at all!
When she moves to Rocksaw, she is met with a myriad of relatives – okay only three women; Auntie, her Great Aunt; Mia, her dad’s sister and Ember, her cousin. Now, Trix has a whole lot of adjustments to deal with – from being answerable to no one, but herself till now, she has to answer to women, she doesn’t even she likes and on top of that, she is hit with the news that all McCabe women tend to have some magical gift!
Yeah; Trix’s life has turned on its head; and trust me, you can’t help but sympathise with this teenager.
I adored the way this book was written – the plot is honestly way more character driven than I had expected; but it was the only that this book could have made this much impact on yours truly!
Four females with their unique personalities butting heads and hearts in this standalone novel was way more than just that – A Constellation of Roses is an emotional journey of understanding, not just yourself but the way you fit in this weird quirky world! It is definitely not a light read, but it is one where you connect with the characters in a heartbeat!
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My hand slips into the woman’s gaping purse like it’s my own. Fingers nimble and sure on her wallet, I brush against her as if I am just impatient to get through the crowds of people milling around in the Eastside Mall. It’s not hard to do. Everyone here is in a rush to get to the next big sale. That’s why I always pick this place. And because it’s lightly patrolled by burly security guards who stand idly outside upscale department stores and watch for the wolves among the placid, woolly shoppers.
My touch is only the softest graze against the woman; she doesn’t even notice. Before I can inhale a full breath of her expen- sive perfume, I’m gone, her billfold in hand. I stuff it into my beat-up bag and lose myself in the throngs of people. This is the third wallet tonight, and by the glimpse of the designer insignia, I’m guessing that I can retire for the evening. I only need enough to cover the week at the motel and maybe something to eat a couple times a day. I steal just enough to get by. No more, no less.
I follow the stream of other shoppers as they trickle out of the mall, but when they go to the parking garage to load up their Mer- cedes and their BMWs, I pull on my hood and walk into the wind. It’s barely September, but lately the evenings are cool enough to make me hope I remembered to turn the radiator on low before I left the motel.
One of the security guards making the rounds in the parking lot briefly scrutinizes a girl with a black hoodie and ripped jeans and says something into his walkie-talkie, but I don’t worry about him.
You see, I’ve got a gift.
Once I watched a movie about this little boy who could heal people with his hands. They said he had “a gift from God.” I’ve never seen God, and from the few times I prayed with the pious foster mom whose husband whipped me with a belt when I spilled juice on their new carpet, it became clear to me that if there was a God, he didn’t see me, either. But my gift is okay, too, regardless of where it came from. My hands are swift, undetectable. I was born a thief.
I’m sure there are more people out there like me. Some strange twist of DNA giving us gifts like perfect pitch or immor- tal cells or quick hands or even healing ones. I don’t think I was chosen or found worthy. I think I’m just damn lucky. Sometimes for fun I like to watch the security-camera footage at the bodega next to the Happy Host. I wander in the aisles, loading up, barely a shadow on the screen above the register, just someone in a hoodie with her hands firmly in her pockets. No one sees a thing. Ever.
I catch a city bus on the next block, careful not to meet the eyes of the other commuters as we make our way to the west side of town. Sure, most of these people are the unseen—the busboys, the cleaning ladies, the trash collectors. But a few are thieves and pickpockets like me, and they’re on their way home, some licking their lips and others licking their wounds. I want to blend in with the unseen. Nothing in my bag but minimum wage and an empty lunch box, not stolen rent money.
Instead I stare at the sturdy shoes of the older couple sitting across from me, their clasped hands resting between them on the vinyl seat. I get my sketchbook from my bag and begin to draw those hands with stolen pencils. Sketching my surroundings is something I’ve done since I was old enough to notice the shadows moving from the small split in the curtains of whatever motel room I was living in, some desperate admiration for the way dark and light give depth and meaning to everything. I use short, scratchy strokes to show the way the couple’s fingers intertwine, nicks on the knuckles where the dry, red skin has split. There’s something beautiful about the way her hands look as rough and cracked as his, so you can’t tell which hand belongs to which person.
I like the bus because it makes me feel connected to other people, sharing their stories, even if only for a little while. But eventually, I always remember that I am still alone, and I close my sketchbook and watch the street signs for my destination.
I get off at the dark stop two blocks away from the Starlite Motel. Keeping my head down and walking quickly, I ignore the voices and laughter from the doorways and the parking lots I pass. I don’t want to buy anything, and I’m not selling, either. As I get closer, I see that the motel sign says NO VACANCY, which means that the ladies who are my neighbors are probably working.
Mom used to work with them sometimes, too, when we lived here. Until she said she was going to get a pack of cigarettes one August afternoon and never came back. That was a little over a year ago, in one of those brief, hopeful lulls when she said she was going to get clean again. I’ve been a lot of places since she left, but I keep drifting back here. I guess because it’s familiar.
When I get to the Starlite, there are a lot of cars in the park- ing lot. It’s Friday, and men do stupid things with their paychecks. I stop at room 7 and, looking over my shoulder, I pull my keys out of my pocket. Once I’m inside, I immediately lock the door behind me and do a quick inspection of the room. I am alone.
Mel, the night manager, has kind of a soft spot for the kids who live here, and that’s why he lets me rent a room even though I’m by myself and not eighteen. There aren’t many of us at the Starlite. Me, Charly, and the Quinter twins. Charly shares room 11 with her mom, and Janie Quinter, barely older than me, and her twins are one door down in room 12. The twins are little, though, and usually Charly watches them when their mom is working.
Shane used to live here, too.
I dump the wallets out on the queen bed. The coverlet is a faded floral print, and it sort of matches the brown carpet and the yellowed curtains. I thumb through my haul, checking every pos- sible pocket for cash that might be hidden.
I peel out carefully folded, clean bills. That’s what I like about rich people. Even their money smells better. There’s three hundred seven dollars. Sighing in relief, I clutch the crisp cash to my chest. It’s enough to pay for another week at the Starlite and food for a while. Not a bad night at all. I take half the money and cram it into the jar I keep in the toilet tank, careful to screw the lid back on tightly so my stash doesn’t get wet. No one ever thinks to look in the toilet tank. They always look under the mattress, in the top drawers of the dresser, the cupboard in the corner. I shove the other half of the money into my pocket to pay the rent.
The stolen billfolds go in the metal trash can I’ve designated as the burn trash. There’s a small outdoor grill behind the Starlite, and I burn everything but money. I’m not stupid. Credit cards, IDs: those are traceable. I only take the cash. Marie leaves the bot- tle of lighter fluid out there. Who knows what the young, pretty maid burns, but I’m not alone in my activities.
My stomach growls. I check the small clock that hangs above the kitchenette area. Calling it a kitchen is a little extravagant when it’s really only a hot plate and a bathroom sink with a dish drainer next to it. I should’ve stopped at the QuikMart to grab a bite on the way home, but it was late, and I knew I should get back before Mel started playing cards with the old man who lives in room 2. Once they start drinking, it’s hard to say if my rent will make it into the till or into the game.
I hesitate by the door. I don’t want to go all the way back to the QuikMart, so I do something nice for myself. I order a pizza. Not a cheap one, either. I order one of those deluxe ones from Sal’s, the kind that leaks grease through the cardboard so it leaves stains on the coverlet. I can live off one of those for a couple of days.
Then I leave the motel room and lock the door behind me. Hood up, head down, I make my way to the main office. “Trix!
Hey, Trix!” The sound of my name seizes my shoulders and urges me to run before I recognize the voice. Charly.
“Hey,” she says, jogging up beside me. “Thought that was you. Rent time, huh? Mom just sent me to pay for next week, too.” She holds up the wad of cash so I can see it, the cheap gold rings on her fingers glinting in the lights from the neon NO VACANCY sign.
“Don’t flash that around,” I hiss, watching the two guys leaning on an Impala in the parking lot. I don’t know if they’re staying here or waiting for someone, but I don’t want to catch their attention by looking like we’re two easy marks.
Charly shrugs and stuffs the money in the pocket of her snug jeans. “What’s the fun of having money if you can’t show it off?” she asks. “Anyway, what are you doing tonight? Can I come over?”
“Aren’t you watching the twins?” I ask.
“No, Janie’s sick, so she’s not working.” Charly’s a year younger than me, but there’s a tightness in her face, a hardness that makes her seem older. I don’t know; maybe I look that way to other people, too.
“You can come over if you want,” I tell her, knowing there’s a fifty-fifty chance she’ll blow me off. Anytime a boyfriend texts, she bails on plans with me. But tonight, I could use the company. I haven’t spoken to another person in nearly a week. Just me in a crowd, me in my room. Just me, alone. Sometimes drifting can be lonely, and it would be nice to feel that somebody cares I’m here. So I add, knowing it will sweeten the deal, “I’ve got a pizza com- ing.”
Charly grins, revealing the large gap between her front teeth. “I’m starving.”
Prize: Win a copy of A CONSTELLATION OF ROSES by Miranda Asebedo (INT)
Miranda Asebedowas born and raised in rural Kansas with a love of fast cars,open skies, and books. She carried that love of books to college, where she gother B.A. and M.A. in English, with an emphasis in Creative Writing and Literature.A Seaton Fellowship recipient,her short fiction has appeared in Kansas Voices,Touchstone, and Midway Journal.Miranda still lives on the prairie today with her husband, two kids, and twomajestic bulldogs named Princess Jellybean and Captain Jack Wobbles. IfMiranda’s not writing or reading, she’s most likely convinced everyone to load upin the family muscle car and hit the road.
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