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3.7 21
by Nina Malkin

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A promise broken. A bond betrayed.

It’s been six months since ghost-turned golem Sinclair Youngblood Powers confessed his love, stole Dice's heart, and disappeared from Swoon, perhaps from existence. Despite the hurt, Dice has been moving steadily toward ordinary. Dreams of Sin still plague and pleasure her sleep, and the mark of Sin's love remains on


A promise broken. A bond betrayed.

It’s been six months since ghost-turned golem Sinclair Youngblood Powers confessed his love, stole Dice's heart, and disappeared from Swoon, perhaps from existence. Despite the hurt, Dice has been moving steadily toward ordinary. Dreams of Sin still plague and pleasure her sleep, and the mark of Sin's love remains on her skin, still sore. But Dice has been throwing herself into music, finding solace in song and sometimes even in the arms of her band mate, Tosh. Life seems almost…normal. The last thing Dice wants is to mess with anything remotely supernatural. But when her best friend’s boyfriend goes missing, Dice has no choice but to become very much involved. She knows that his disappearance was no accident, and it somehow has everything to do with Sin. Because Dice can feel it: Sin is back. And the promises and deceptions he left in his wake have returned to haunt him.

What do you do when an oath of devotion threatens to destroy the one you love?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Lusty…The drama is high in this sequel, which will appeal to readers who enjoyed the passion and romance of the first book.” —Booklist

"The plot runs along at a good pace.... This story will appeal to readers who enjoyed Swoon, as well as those who can’t get enough paranormal romance." — SLJ

VOYA - Heidi Uphoff
Author Nina Malkin picks up young Dice's story six months after her love, Sinclair Youngblood Powers, A.K.A. Sin, disappears back into the afterlife. In the previous book, Swoon (Simon Pulse, 2009/VOYA April 2009), Dice and her cousin, Pen, accidentally tap into their clairvoyant powers and bring Sin, a licentious troublemaker from the 18th century, from the afterlife into the party scene of a rich New England town. After Sin declares his undying love for Dice, he disappears back into the metaphysical realm, leaving Dice feeling bruised and yearning for their connection. Dice attempts to move on with her life and with a new beau, but is interrupted by strange occurrences that can only be linked to Sin. Soon enough, Sin returns to the scene, only to be followed out of the spiritual realm by Antonia, an obsessed girl from Sin's previous life. Amidst all of the tension between lovers, Dice forms a blues band that pulls in all characters, from the 21st and 18th centuries. Fans of supernatural romance will find Swear to be a disappointment. The main love interest, Sin, is almost unlikeable and, while described as a mischievous, carefree troublemaker, his actions are often contradictory to his nature. The plot is unfocused and a poor continuation of the storyline from the previous book. Nonetheless, high school readers who grew attached to the characters and love story in Swoon will wish to read what happens next. Reviewer: Heidi Uphoff
Kirkus Reviews

Not every teen paranormal romance requires a sequel—and this demonstrates why.

In Swoon (2009), readers were mesmerized by the sensually seductive Sinclair Powers, a ghost-turned-golem whose many charms left teenager Dice sighing under his spell. Nowadays, Dice has been living Sin-less, but when her best friend's boyfriend disappears, she surmises that supernatural forces are again at work. A deranged dead debutante has declared her undying love (literally) for Sin, has taken said boyfriend captive and will not free him until she and Sin are wed. Dice, with her psychic abilities, acts as an intermediary between the two ghosts, trying to figure out how to both get her friend's boyfriend back safely and how to once again make Sin hers. Readers looking for the same erotic tones found in Swoon will be disappointed; Sin is a stark 180-degree departure from his previous womanizing self, a watered-down shell of his earlier characterization. This plodding affair moves along discontinuously, from a battle of the bands to haunted houses to a sylvan party with the gods. While Swoon was neatly resolved at the end, this sequel feels like an unnecessary offering, more rambling and with a decidedly different tone.

With romances between supernatural creatures and humans dominating the market, this seems like a shameful ploy to draw out something that should have been left where it was—kind of like resurrecting the dead to find a potential boyfriend. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)

School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—It's been six months since Dice's bad-boy paranormal boyfriend, Sin, disappeared, and the 17-year-old is determined to quash her supernatural side: no more reading tarot cards or communing with spirits. However, when her friend Crane is kidnapped by a vengeful ghost, Dice finds herself using her powers. As she pursues a normal relationship with a cute bandmate, Sin, sensing her new love interest, reappears and reestablishes his relationship with her. The two travel through a portal to an alternate reality to face the ghosts in the old house where Crane is held captive. They don't bring him back, but rather they return with Antonia Forsythe, a ghost who claims to have a prior connection to Sin. Dice must fight for the man—well, golem—she loves, without angering Antonia and risking harm to Crane, who is still hidden somewhere in the alternative world. Despite occasionally stilted dialogue, the plot runs along at a good pace, albeit to ever more and more unlikely situations. A bacchanal with gods from every imaginable pantheon results in Dice gaining, among other things, the ability to communicate with animals. This talent allows for an ending straight out of "Cinderella," with Dice's animal friends finding letters that prove that Sin never had any intentions toward Antonia, either in the past or in the present. This story will appeal to readers who enjoyed Swoon (S & S, 2009), as well as those who can't get enough paranormal romance.—Misti Tidman, Licking County Library, Newark, OH

Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.70(d)
790L (what's this?)
Age Range:
16 Years

Read an Excerpt


  • LOVE IS BLUE. A CLEAR CERULEAN WHEN NEW. A BRIGHT, BOLD, TRUE blue in its glorious throes. And when it hurts, as it inevitably will, love turns deep, dark, the color of a bad bruise. I know all about that deep, that dark—I’ve been dealing with it for a while now. One night of true bliss with the boy I love, and then he was gone. Had he found the peace eluding him for centuries? Or was his destiny null, void, blank, nothing? Don’t ask me. All I know is that what we shared—tumultuous as it often was—went beyond tangible presence. He left me, of his own accord or by some immutable force, but he’s with me. I feel him. On me. In me. Through and through me. That’s how I can handle it.

    Even though it hurts like hell. Literally. Our night was intense—naturally, he put his mark on me. There, along my inner thigh, storm-colored, tear-shaped. Only why won’t the blue bruise fade? Stroking soapy fingers across it in the shower, I fall back against the tile, his imprint still so tender and reaching all the way to my core.

    Six months later—as in now—the blue bruise remains.

    Like I said, I can deal. I’ve . . . adapted. Here it is, almost summer, and I’ll wear a skirt or shorts without a thought to my tarnished skin. At night, I’ll sleep, ignoring that stained aspect of my anatomy. Sure, sometimes, alone in bed I’ll press my hand there, and the pain is still the pain, except not exactly. Oh, and the nocturnal trysts, dreams that aren’t dreams, during which we chat . . . and stuff. Then there’s the after blow—the selfish ache of his absence—which kills. Only I have no control over any of it, or him. Sinclair Youngblood Powers. Boy turned ghost turned golem turned . . . who knows. My Sin.


    That would be Marsh. Shrieking. Except Marsh doesn’t shriek. So I dash from the backyard, where I’m tending tomato seedlings (crazy, I know, a city girl like me) to find a foot-high blaze snarling on the stove top and my best friend haplessly flailing a pot holder.

    “Marsh!” I hip-check her out of the way. “Fan the flames, why don’t you?” I find the lid to the pan, slam it over the orange plumes. Grease fires and such don’t faze me much these days. But Marsh, her eyes wide and brimming, cringes against the sink.

    “It’s out,” I state the obvious. Adding, soothingly, “No worries, Marsh. No harm done.” No harm, unless you’re the chicken cutlets she’s torched beyond recognition.

    She blinks back tears. Which is weird. I mean, the girl blew away her abusive father with his own Clint Eastwood special last fall, and having shouldered so much suffering at the hands of Daddy Demento, she doesn’t easily freak. I yank off my gardening gloves and put an arm around her.

    Instantly she crumples. “Oh, Dice . . .”

    “Marsh, come on, hush, okay? Nothing happened.”

    She sniffs, hard, and gets it together. I let go and watch her as she leans rigidly against the counter.

    “I must’ve got . . . distracted.” She presses a knuckle to mauve-tinged half-moons under sleepless eyes. “I’m sorry, Dice. I ruined dinner.”

    I just shrug. Marsh and I have been housemates since right around New Year’s. She’d moved with her kid sisters into the new place, twenty miles away in Torrington, but the whole situation—with them, their mother, and New Pop—proved too tense. Living here, Marsh can graduate from Swonowa with our friends, still tend her beloved horses, work all summer to earn cash for vet tech school, and of course be close to her boyfriend, Crane.

    The deal works both ways, though—it’s good for me having Marsh around. My parents rarely are. Daddy landed a role in a series that shoots in Toronto. (Ever see Officer Demon, that show about the vampire cop? Yeah, he’s the grumpy, overworked coroner.) And when circulation tanked at Momster’s magazine In Star, she got a new boss, this Brit who makes Simon Cowell look like the Dalai Lama; her hours are more insane than ever. Taking a four-hour train-then-cab ride or driving a rental from Manhattan to Swoon, C-T, is so not on her schedule these days. Marsh is my buttress against loneliness; and she really is—lapse into patricide aside—a regular girl: down-to-earth, no-nonsense, and so a healthy influence. Ordinary is my number one goal these days, normal my nirvana. So I say, “It’s not like your chicken supreme is so hot anyway.”

    It’s true. The division of labor here at 12 Daisy Lane is usually: cooking = me, cleaning = her. Guess I was lingering in the garden too long and she got hungry.

    Marsh sniffs again and slides her lank blond bangs. “Oh, shut up,” she says, and tries a smile.

    I try one back, though both smiles are weak. Something’s definitely up with her. Sitting at the table in the tiny dining area, I say, “You want to tell me what’s going on?”

    For a beat her eyes narrow, that look she gets when she thinks I’m playing psychic detective. The girl is still a little spooked by my so-called gift.

    I cock my head, press my lips. “It’s pretty obvious. You’re not the type to space out over a sauté pan.”

    Marsh sits opposite me, toys with the edge of a flea-market doily. “It’s Crane,” she says, her voice so thin it needs to be fed intravenously. “He dumped me.”

    “No, no, no, no.” This may be a crazy, unstable, screwed-up world, but if anything’s for sure in it, it’s that Crane Williams loves Kristin Marshall.

    “Well then, where is he?” she wants to know. “I haven’t seen him or heard from him in two days!”

    Two days? Impossible. Although . . . yeah, it was two days ago that Crane’s brother Duck called to cancel practice. They have this band, the Williams boys and another guy, Tosh Peters—basically a cover band plus two originals Crane wrote—and I’m kinda-sorta in it. On impulse I sang with them last week, and they’ve been bugging me to make it official. Strange, then, after I said I’d come to the next rehearsal, that they blew it off. “Two days. Huh.”

    “That’s right,” Marsh says. “And I keep going over it—what I said, what I did or didn’t do, to make him mad or . . .”

    I hate when girls do that, assume that whatever went wonky with their romance is some fault or failing on their part. Of course, Marsh hardly had stellar role models in the relationship department so I cut her some slack. I stand up. “Let’s go.”


    “Their house. We’ll see if he’s home, and if not, we’ll get something out of Duck.” We call him Duck but the boy’s more magpie—you can’t shut him up.

    This seems to make sense to Marsh; she nods once, and we’re out the door.

    “Wait a sec.” I touch her wrist. “I’ll be right back.”

    A restored relic from the 1700s, our clapboard farmhouse could go up like tinder. I just want to double-check, make sure all the burners are off. Call me OCD—you dance with death enough times, you can’t be too careful. In the kitchen, though, everything’s cool. Very cool; too cool. You’d never know by the temperature that we’d just beat down a blaze. Or by the smell. Not burnt chicken but . . . roses?

    There’s not a single rosebush on the property, but the scent is unmistakable, and unwelcome, snapping me back to the first and only funeral I ever had to attend. The church a sea of flowers, as you’d expect when someone so young and so beautiful so tragically dies. I see her now, my best friend since fourth grade, laid out in an open casket, her high-necked, long-sleeved gown demure, like nothing she’d ever be caught dead in. Now I’m giggling aloud, just as I did then—oh, the irony!—the giggles going headlong toward hysteria. Convulsively I laugh, I can’t help it—the smell of roses so powerful and the chill of the grave so close. Which makes no sense, no sense at all. Unless I’m about to—


    I haul off and slap myself across the face so hard my eyeballs bounce. Effective. That slide into clairvoyant never-never land that I never-never want to experience again? Neatly avoided. Damn, who knew? One good self-inflicted blow can psych out a psychic episode. I’ll have to remember that.

  • Meet the Author

    Nina Malkin
    is the author of three YA novels, one novella, and an adult memoir. She’s also an award-winning journalist specializing in pop culture and lifestyles, whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Real Simple, and numerous other publications. Nina lives in her native Brooklyn with her musician husband and assorted felines.

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    Swear 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
    Owlmanafanatic16 More than 1 year ago
    When i first heard about Swear, I knew i had to have it. The cover is beautiful. It goes well with the setting and the atmosphere. I really enjoyed Dice. She is my favorite character in both Swoon and Swear. The best thing about this book is that all the characters have changed a lot since Swoon. They all seem grown-up and more mature. And Sin was as cunning as ever. I wouldn't recomend it to anyone since Swoon had mixed reviews. So it'd be best if you go to your library and check them out. Words could not describe how I felt when I finidhed this book. I think she is an amazing character. I really admire her and would not mind if she was my friend. I think we'll get along just fine.I WANT MORE!!!!!!!!!! I want Dice 2 be my friennd so bad. Enjoy Swoon and Swear. :D
    Jenny_Geek More than 1 year ago
    Nina Malkin's writing is, interesting. It's definitely different and while I can't quite pinpoint what it is exactly that makes it different, I did enjoy the writing style...for a while. I felt like Swear had a great purpose and then somewhere got lost in all the words. So many words...472 pages of words. Lots of vocabulary that didn't really add to the book, in my opinion. What I struggled with most was just the length of the book. And I'm an avid reader and can read a 300 page book in a few hours. But reading Swear felt like it took ages. And really? The author put at least 5 pages of just song lyrics in the book of what Dice was singing. Did I need to read all of those? Then I think the biggest page waster was reading two pages (yes two) of Dice listening to her cat meow and imagining the words that would be coming out of Rubycat's mouth. Really? By the time I got near the end of the book, I didn't even care what happened to the characters. I personally think Dice is stupid for wanting to be with Sin after all the things he's done to her friends and family. Again, the cover of the book is beautiful. I'll probably touch it in the bookstore. But that's about it. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    swoon was the best paranormal romance I have ever read I absolutely loved it and can't wait to read what happens in the sequel swear. If your into paranormal, romance, drama, seductive, and suspenseful books then this book is perfect for you. You won't even be able to put it down almost every page is a page turner and I believe you will love it just as much as I did. Happy Reading!!!
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    Baboom fuuuccck...nuggett
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    ok so at first i was so exited i loved the first one so i thought i would love the second but.. i have a feeling that this one will be way different i hope i am wrong. i love sin and all of the other characters... but i mainly love sin he was soooo sexy and womanizing and mysterious. Oh chill just run up my spine thinking about it!!!!!