Friday, December 19, 2014

Month9Books Holiday Gift Blitz!

Welcome to Month9Books’ gift blitz for our amazing winter titles: CROWN OF ICE by Vicki L. Weavil, PRAEFATIO by Georgia McBride, ENDLESS by Amanda Gray, A MURDER OF MAGPIES by Sarah Bromley, DEAD JED (1 & 2) by Scott Craven, and TRACY TAM by Krystalyn Drown! Are you looking for the perfect winter/holiday read? Then these are the titles for you! Oh and as a thank you to our readers we have an amazing giveaway for you!

by Vicki L. Weavil

Thyra Winther's seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but if she can't reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she's doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai's childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles. Thyra's willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts -- to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup's devotion and the fire of a young man's desire, the thawing of Thyra's frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing.

CROWN OF ICE is a YA Fantasy that reinvents Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" from the perspective of a young woman who discovers that the greatest threat to her survival may be her own humanity.

by Georgia McBride

Seventeen-year-old Grace Ann Miller is no ordinary runaway. After having been missing for weeks, Grace is found on the estate of international rock star Gavin Vault, half-dressed and yelling for help. Over the course of twenty-four hours Grace holds an entire police force captive with incredulous tales of angels, demons, and war; intent on saving Gavin from lockup and her family from worry over her safety. Authorities believe that Grace is ill, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, the victim of assault and a severely fractured mind. Undeterred, Grace reveals the secret existence of dark angels on earth, an ancient prophecy and a wretched curse steeped in Biblical myth. Grace’s claims set into motion an ages-old war, resulting in blood, death and the loss of everything that matters. But are these the delusions of an immensely sick girl, or could Grace’s story actually be true? Praefatio is Grace’s account of weeks on the run, falling in love and losing everything but her faith. When it’s sister against brother, light versus darkness, corrupt police officers, eager doctors and accusing journalists, against one girl with nothing but her word as proof: who do you believe?

            by Amanda Gray

Jenny Kramer knows she isn't normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them.

When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumble on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought. Like a past life.

Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren't alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has travelled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back.

While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock - and the Order - Jenny and Nikolai discover a link that joins them in life - and beyond death.

            by Sarah Bromley

Winter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see.

No one can know the toll emotions take on Vayda, how emotion becomes energy in her hands, or how she can’t control the destruction she causes. But it's not long before her powers can no longer be contained. The truth is dangerously close to being exposed, placing Vadya and her family at risk.

Until someone quiets the chaos inside her.

Unwanted. That's all Ward Ravenscroft has ever been. To cope, he numbs the pain of rejection by denying himself emotions of any kind. Yet Vayda stirs something in him. He can't explain the hold she has on him--inspiring him with both hope and fear. He claims not to scare easily, except he doesn't know what her powers can do. Yet.

Just as Vadya and Ward draw closer, she finds the past isn't so easily buried. And when it follows the Silvers to Black Orchard, it has murder in mind.


by Scott Craven

The first part of seventh grade was rough on Jed, but things are looking up now that Christmas is almost here. As with past Christmases, Jed asks for the one thing he's always wanted--a dog--and again, his parents tell him they're not ready. But fate has a different plan when Jed sees a dog get run over by a car. Then, it happens. Jed suddenly has a pet, Tread, a zombie dog bearing his namesake--a tire tread down his back. Jed may have gained a dog, but he loses his best friend Luke, who fears the way Jed created his undead pet. When Jed returns to school, he finds a mysterious group called the No Zombies Now Network spreading rumors of the dangers the undead pose to normal people. Forced to disprove Hollywood stereotypes, Jed has his work cut out for him as stories of a zombie dog begin to circulate. Jed could be expelled if he can't expose the NZN Network as a fraud. Jed needs help from his kind of girlfriend Anna, especially after he discovers Luke has joined the shadowy group. Once again navigating the treacherous waters of middle school, Jed does his best to stay in one piece. Only this time he'll need even more duct tape and staples than usual.

by Scott Craven

As the fall semester ends and kids head home for winter break, Jed and his parents gather for the annual exchanging of gift lists. Once again, Jed asks for a dog, leading to a heated argument and a firm "no." But when Jed spots a stray, he chases it until the dog darts into the street where it is struck and killed by a car. Grief stricken by what he's done, Jed cradles the dead dog in his arms. Soon, ooze from the dog mixes with teardrops from Jed, creating Tread the zombie dog. Finally getting his wish, Jed must convince his parents to let him keep the undead dog. But a zombie dog turns out to be the least of Jed's issues. It seems some parents don't want Jed attending school with their kids. Enter the mysterious NZN Network. They've been distributing anti-zombie propaganda in an effort to get Jed expelled. But Jed wonders if the creation of Tread has caused his relationship with Luke to sour. And why, just as he seems to need them the most, have his best friends abandoned him? Could they have bought in to the anti-zombie way of thinking? Was creating Tread a mistake Jed will live to regret?

When Tread goes missing, and with his very existence at stake, Jed must rely on his instincts, team up with an old nemesis, and fight for his right to have just as miserable a middle school existence as any other student—undead or alive.

by Krystalyn Drown

Tracy Tam doesn't really believe in Santa Claus, at least not like the rest of us do. She also doesn't believe that Santa can possibly deliver all of those presents in one night, to children around the world, without a little help from science. A flying sleigh can only be powered by jet engines, after all, and Santa's magical abilities can only be the result of altered DNA. How else could he know what every little girl and boy wants for Christmas and who has been naughty or nice? In order to test her theories, Tracy sneaks onto Santa's sleigh then ends up at Santa Command, where a team of (gasp!) humans monitor Santa's big night. When Tracy attempts to hack into their computers, she accidentally introduces a virus into the system. As a result, three states get knocked out of sync with the rest of the world (oops!). Santa won't be able to deliver all the presents in time! Now, Tracy must fix time and help Santa, but she has no idea how. How can a girl who doesn't believe help Santa and save Christmas before it's too late? With a little Christmas magic, of course!

Giveaway Details:

1 Winner will receive A Taste of Christmas Gift Basket US Only.
3 Winners will receive eBook bundles of 5 Month9Books. International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2015 TBR Pile Challenge Master Post

I'm not usually one to commit to a reading challenge because, frankly, I HATE the idea of being told what I have to read. Even by myself.  I take a very casual approach to my reading and blogging. I want to read what I want to, not what someone expects me to read, you know?  Well, Adam over at Roof Beam Reader has a reading challenge that fits right in with my reading goal this year: Read what I already own.

My bookshelves are close to capacity nd my eReader has a disgusting amount of unread books. Yet I still pine for MORE BOOKS. I'm always going to pine for more books but it's time I do something about all the precious stories sitting unread on my shelves and READ THEM. So, I'm attempting Roof  Beam Reader's TBR Pile Challenge for the second time. Maybe this time I'll knock out all twelve.  I did this challenge in 2013 and read four so there's lots of opportunity for me to improve on my last attempt.

My 2015 TBR Pile Challenge List

You can read all about these books by checking out the 2015 TBR Challenge shelf on my Goodreads page.

1. The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard (2010)

2. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (2007)

3. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (2008)

4. Shine by Lauren Myracle (2011)

5. Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal (2011)

6. Haven by Kristi Cook (2011)

7. Requiem for the Devil by Jeri Smith-Ready (2001)

8. Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard (2011)

9. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952)

10. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (2006)

11. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater (2008)

12. The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (2010)


1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (2001)

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (2010) 

If the title is linked, that means I've read it and you should click on it to read my, no doubt, stellar review. 

Here's hoping my second reading challenge is at least 10% more successful that my last attempt.  I will gladly accept your words of encouragement in the comments below. :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Book Review: CATHERINE by April Lindner

by April Lindner

Release date: August 19, 2014 (Paperback)
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Poppy
Source: Library Book

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad's famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years -- a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn't die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her -- starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine delivers a fresh retelling of the Emily Brontë classic Wuthering Heights, interweaving timeless romance with a captivating modern mystery.

Fictitious Delicious Rating: 4

*slow clap for April Lindner*

Wow. I was NOT expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did.  Which makes one say, "Jen! Why would you read a book that you didn't think you'd enjoy, huh? Who has time for that?!?" It's not that I didn't think I wouldn't enjoy it, really. I thought I would. It's just....I loathe WUTHERING HEIGHTS and CATHERINE is a retelling of that story.  I thought Catherine and Heathcliff were the most selfish, ugly characters that I've ever read.  I couldn't come up with one good characteristic between the two of them. Oh, that book made me angry.  BUT...

CATHERINE is set in the modern world of rock n' roll! If there's anything I like more than reading, it's music.  The exact kind of music I suspect would be playing at The Underground, a central location for both voices in this story, Catherine and Chelsea. THIS is a world I can get into. It's a world that I nearly ended up in myself. 

Catherine and Hence are still selfish and doomed to an unhappy ending to their relationship. It's not nearly as convoluted as the original story, though, and I didn't feel nearly as much anger towards Catherine in this version of the story.  And the really cool part in CATHERINE? How Catherine dies is a mystery!  One her daughter, Chelsea (think Cathy from WH) sets out to solve with a little help from Coop (think Linton).  I really enjoyed the dual point of views told while Chelsea reads through Catherine's diary and learns what happened to our heroine.  I gotta tell you, I didn't see that ending coming from a mile away. 

The best compliment I think I can give this book is that it actually made me think about giving WUTHERING HEIGHTS another chance. That is something I thought I'd never, ever say.  Now the other Bronte sister wrote what I consider one of my very favorite books--JANE EYRE. And guess what? Lindner has a retelling of that story called JANE.  Guess what skyrocketed to the top of my TBR pile? :)

Don't be turned off by CATHERINE if you didn't like WUTHERING HEIGHTS.  I'm here to tell you that it won't make a lick of difference.  Give it a shot--I think you'll like it!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Candy Box Confession: The Inability to Say Goodbye

I don't know about you, but I LOVE to reflect on the books I've read throughout the year when we start rolling into December territory. One of the things that really struck me this year is the number of series that I haven't yet finished, even though THEY are finished. What's up with that?  And I'm not talking about your everyday, run of the mill kind of series. No. I'm talking about series that I love and anxiously waited to hit my local bookstore.  Books that I cancelled social engagements for just so I could read them.  So, why didn't I see them through to the end?  That question is easily answered.

I hate saying goodbye.

But it's time.  I'm jumping in with both feet and finishing up these series in 2015. Or 2016. But 2017 at the very latest!

The Mortal Instruments by Cassie Clare: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know I'm lame. Truth be told, I needed a break from this series. Now that I'm back in the world and one book away from the end, I know it was the right choice.  I'm enjoying this story so much more than I would have if I would have forced myself to read these when they came out

Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning: Oh, Barron.  Remember that time I had your last book on audio from the library and then I accidentally returned it instead of the Alyson Noel book I had just finished? Why has that kept us apart? We'll be together again soon, my love.

Shifter Series by Rachel Vincent: Our book club selected this series this spring and I tore through the first four books like a werecat! I couldn't finish because I had other reading obligations PLUS I'm sooo nervous about the current situation these characters are in right now. Not to mention I'm still trying to mend my broken hear from you know what in PREY. *cries some more*

Ten Tiny Breaths Series by K.A. Tucker: This is one of my favorite new adult series. The last book in this series, FIVE WAYS TO FALL, has been at the top of my TBR list from the moment it hit the streets. I just can't believe I have to say goodbye to these characters. I DON'T WANT TO! *throws tantrum*

 Fifty Shades Series by E.L. James:  Go ahead and judge me.  Heck, I'm judging myself. I made it through the first two (The first one was better than I expected, the second one not so much) I gotta see if Christian and Ana have a hybrid baby that can touch/whip someones cheek and share her thoughts.

Cipher Series by Cindi Madsen: This is a damn shame. Not only do I have a massive crush on Summer and Troy, I have a massive crush on Cindi Madsen, too. The series finale is one that I am desperate to read!

Mara Dyer Series by Michelle Hodkin: I don't feel TOO bad about not having finished this one yet because it did just come out, but I freaking LOVE Mara and Noah! With all the publishing delays, I kind of forgot about it! Oops. This is a series I may have to re-read to fully appreciate the final one.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone Series by Laini Taylor:  These books are so beautiful on audio! I've listened to the first two and intend to do the same with DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS. The thing is, I rarely drive long distances any more and that's the only way I listen to audio books. I may have to break down and actually read this one.

Under the Never Sky Series by Veronica Rossi: Alright. I'm now officially shamed to the point where I may not even post this list. PERRY! ARIA! ROOOOAR! What does the end of your story hold for you?! Guess I'd already know the answer to that question if I had taken the time to READ IT!

The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan: I intentionally avoided this series until it finished. The end of book one nearly killed me and I knew I had to have the ability to read the entire story before I continued. I'm coming for Kami and the Lynburn boys in 2015, though.

Burn for Burn Series by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian: Here's another one that I don't feel too bad about not yet getting to.  The conclusion to this story came out just a few months ago but after that big revelation at the end of book two, I'm surprised I haven't finished it yet.  WANT.

A Touch Trilogy by Leah Clifford: Alright, I admit it. I've been putting this one off intentionally. See, Clifford likes to torture her readers by torturing her characters and I'm afraid, okay? I've heard the last one in this series is especially so rough, but I've been mentally preparing myself for eighteen months so I guess it's time to dive in.  HOLD ME.

Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi: Come to think of it, I'm not positive I'll actually finish this one. I know who Juliette ends up with and it makes me sad.  I seriously cannot buy into her choice. Like, at all. I love Mafi's writing, though, so I want to finish it just to read her words.

Graceling Realm Series by Kristin Cashore: I almost threw up from excitement knowing Bitterblue was hitting shelves. If I remember correctly, I stopped by the bookstore on my way to work the day this beauty came out and then I...didn't read it. That's 71 flavors of wrong.

OK. DISH. I can't believe I'm the only one that has a hard time saying goodbye to characters that we love and adore. Heck, I haven't even finished the last episode of Outlander on Starz because I love the feeling of knowing that I can bring it up and watch it anytime and know I'll have fresh JAMFF material to watch.  

What series are you holding on to a little too long?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Harlequin Holiday Reads Blog Tour: HER HOLIDAY MAN by Shannon Stacey

Welcome to our stop on the Harlequin Holiday Reads blog tour! I'm super excited to be hosting the fabulous Shannon Stacey on the blog today.  I met Shannon at the RT Convention in Kansas City in 2013 during a panel she participated in and liked her immediately.  She told a hilarious story about driving with her husband and then handed out wooden spoons.  I knew at that moment that Shannon Stacey is my kind of girl.

Be sure to check out the other stops on this tour--there's a plethora of holiday cheer!


by Shannon Stacey

Release date: November 3, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Holiday Romance
Pages: 113

Christina Forrester is starting over. After a financial scandal sent her ex-husband to prison, she's left raising her young son without any of the comforts of their old life. Budgets, coupons, lawn care—you name it, she's learning to do it all on her own. Well, almost on her own—she'd be lost without Gail Broughton, the kind widow across the street. But when Gail's son comes home, Christina's vow to never trust a man again is put to the test.

Will Broughton left town because he was tired of being "that poor man" who lost his wife and unborn child in a tragic accident. But years have passed and, with his dad gone and his mom alone, it's time to go home. Only his mother's not alone. She's taken Christina under her wing, and the beautiful and determined single mother awakens something in Will he thought was buried forever.

As Will and Christina are forced to spend more time together, feelings that are more than neighborly grow between them. And with Christmas coming and a child filling both houses with holiday cheer, it becomes nearly impossible not to embrace the joy—and the love—in their lives.


Fictitious Delicious: If they made a Hallmark Holiday Movie out of your life, what would the title be?

Shannon Stacey: I’m not sure I live a Hallmark kind of life, but maybe The Year Nobody Remembered to Decorate the Tree. It had a happy ending, though, because my son got an ornament in his stocking and hung it on the naked branches. The movie would star Melissa McCarthy and be called Where The Heck Did I Put The Tape?


FD: What's one thing you would camp out overnight and wait in line for on Black Friday?

SS: Rosie, from The Jetsons! When I can buy a robotic housekeeper who will clean my house and cook my food with only an overnight charge and a marginal amount of sarcasm, I’ll pitch a tent on the sidewalk outside Best Buy.


FD: What are the elves in Santa's toy shop making especially for Will and Christina this year?

SS: I’d like to think the elves are making Will and Christina a new bed to celebrate their new lives together. (Is that a spoiler? I write romance, so I don’t think I’m ruining the probability of them living happily ever after.) It would be a simple wood headboard, but maybe with a built-in reading lamp for the evenings they snuggle and read stories to the kid(s).


FD: Tell us about the bet gift you've ever received.

SS: I’ve received so many wonderful gifts over the years, it’s hard to choose. Very, very early in my marriage, my husband gave my hope chest, which was part of the inspiration for Her Holiday Man. Then there was the year my sisters bought me enough Dunkin Donuts Hot Chocolate K-Cups, which are seasonal, to get me through the year. My favorite, though, might be the signed photograph of Adam Vinatieri, taken in the seconds he realized he’d just nailed the field goal that won the New England Patriots’ first Super Bowl.


FD: How do you spend the holidays at your house?

SS: Last minute shopping. Last minute decorating. Last minute cooking. But on Christmas morning the boys open the gifts in their stockings while their dad and I chug coffee. After the gifts are open and any new tech gadgets synced and charged, we head to my stepmom’s for the big Christmas breakfast gathering. After several hours of fun, family and food, we head home and pick up the shredded wrapping paper that amused the cats and dogs while we were gone. Later, it’s time for the traditional Stacey Christmas dinner of cheeseburgers and tater tots, followed by watching whichever movie Santa left under the tree for the family.


Shannon Stacey married her Prince Charming in 1993 and is the proud mother of two incredible sons. She lives in New England, where her two favorite activities are trying to stay warm and writing stories of happily ever after. Her two cats refuse to curl up on her lap and keep it warm while she writes, but her Shih Tzu is never far away. Readers can find out more about Shannon at her website.

Find Shannon:  Website Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Looking for more holiday-themed reads? Click here to discover.



The Harlequin Holiday Reads prize-pack includes:
  • One mass market paperback of each of:
    • Christmas with the Billionaire by Carole Mortimer, Maisey Yates and Joss Wood
    • Maybe this Christmas by Sarah Morgan
    • Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne
    • The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
    • The Lodge on Holly Road by Sheila Roberts
  • One copy of Her Holiday Man by Shannon Stacey in the digital format of your choice
  • One package of ornament charms
  • One box of Harlequin-themed gift tags


Week One

12/01/2014  Smexy Books Shannon Stacey (Guest Post)
12/02/2014  Fire & Ice  Brenda Novak (Interview)
12/03/2014  Spiced Latte Reads  Christmas with a Billionaire, Maisey Yates (Guest Post)
12/04/2014  Wicked Little Pixie  Sarah Morgan (Guest Post)
12/05/2014  Bookhounds  Sheila Roberts (Interview)

Week Two

12/08/2014  Parajunkee  Christmas with a Billionaire; Joss Wood (Guest Post)
12/09/2014  That Artsy Reader Girl  Brenda Novak (Guest Post)
12/10/2014  Fictitious Delicious  Shannon Stacey (Interview)
12/11/2014  Curling Up with a Good Book  RaeAnne Thayne (Interview)
12/12/2014  Chicks that Read  Sarah Morgan (Interview)

Week Three

12/15/2014  Poisoned Rationality  Sarah Morgan (Guest Post)
12/16/2014  Bookish Things & More  Christmas with a Billionaire; Carole Mortimer (Guest Post)
12/17/2014  Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf  RaeAnne Thayne (Interview)
12/18/2014  The Reading Cafe  Sheila Roberts (Guest Post)
12/19/2014  Books a la Mode Brenda Novak (Guest Post)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Book Review: THE WEIGHT OF DESTINY by Nyrae Dawn

by Nyrae Dawn

Release date: November 18, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 276
Source: ARC

When “crazy” runs in your family and your namesake is known for walking into a river with a pocket full of rocks, a girl kind of wants to avoid tempting fate at all costs. For Virginia Nichols, the only way to dodge that bullet is to be perfect at everything: school, student council, life. Too bad it’s all a lie, and underneath the perfection...Virginia is lost.

Ryder Blackstock knows a thing or two about being born into fate. The talents passed down from his father aren't exactly normal; instead of learning how to throw a fastball, he was taught to hot-wire a car like a pro and pick any pocket in sight. He’s got criminal blood, just like his old man. And as soon as he turns eighteen, he’ll be living life on the run with his dad.

When Ryder and Virginia meet on the beach, it seems they couldn't be more different. Soon they discover they’re both trapped in their lives—Virginia denying her fate, Ryder embracing his. Like the rocks in Virginia Woolf’s pockets, the weight of their destinies will pull them under. But being together brings out pieces of themselves they didn't know existed—pieces that make them want to take fate into their own hands and rewrite their destinies...if it’s not too late.

Fictitious Delicious Rating: 5+
I'm writing this review two weeks later than I anticipated because I just can't find the words to properly convey how much I love this first book in the Misfits series by Nyrae Dawn.  Heck, I'm not sure my thoughts are coherent enough to write this now but you all have to know about the pure perfection that is THE WEIGHT OF DESTINY.

I go back and forth on whether I loved the love story between Ryder and Virginia or the beautiful journey of self discovery they each partake in more. See, Ryder and Virginia come from very different worlds, but they both come from a place that has predetermined their future.  Their dark destinies await them no matter how much they try to break free from it, until a fateful night on the beach sets a change in motion.

As you may suspect, a romance blossoms between this unlikely pair. It's that sweet, awkward teenage love that was so fun to read, but as I mentioned, watching both Ryder and Virginia learn about themselves and fight their destinies is an even more important element to this story.  Virginia's words are particularly beautiful as she expresses herself poetically. It's a powerful way to tell her story.

Nyrae does what she always does--makes me connect to characters in such a way that the pain they feel radiates straight into my heart. The upside to this is that I also get to feel the joy they feel. Either way, the tears almost always flow. Her characters are REAL.  They're RELEVANT.  They're BEAUTIFUL. Despite, or maybe because of, their flaws. 

I have high expectations for the rest of this series as well.  I've become especially fond of Drea and want SO MUCH for that girl to get the goodness she deserves.

Put this one on your MUST READ pile, folks.  It's that good.

Artwork by Sarah Jo Chreene

Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Blast: BREAKING THE RULES by Katie McGarry

Do you know what today is?!?! It's the day that BREAKING THE RULES hits bookshelves all around the USA.  I'm a huge fan of the entire Pushing the Limits series and am especially fond of Noah and Echo.  They're story remains my favorite and I can not WAIT to see what those two rascals are doing now.  Help celebrate today's release by buying this book and then entering the giveaway you'll find at the bottom of this post.


BREAKING THE RULES (Pushing the Limits #1.5)
by Katie McGarry

Release date: December 8, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 304

A summer road trip changes everything in this unforgettable new tale from acclaimed author Katie McGarry

For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so... different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who’s never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything — except the one thing Echo’s just not ready for.

But when the source of Echo’s constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants — even as foster kid Noah’s search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.

Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah's more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he'd be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn... seriously epic.

From Noah’s POV

“Did you fall into some paint, Echo?” Isaiah asks, changing the subject.
Echo’s shoulder slumps as she pivots toward the mirror. She groans as she touches her cheek and forehead that are more red and pink than skin. “Dang it. Why am I such a mess?”
“I think it’s sexy as hell,” I say.
“I think I’m going to barf,” Beth mocks my tone.
Death radiates from the look I send her way. Enough that it should melt her. “Ever sleep in a tent, Beth?”
Beth focuses on the screen while raising her middle finger in my direction.
“Screw it.” Echo turns away from the mirror. “I need a shower.”
I smile, Echo blushes, then I laugh. Damn me for inviting Isaiah and Beth to share our room.
“Anyhow.” An excited glint strikes Echo’s eyes. “Are you ready? I hope you like it. It’s sort of…for you. But it’s not done, okay? I mean, something like this would actually take a while to perfect, so I guess I’m saying—”
“It’s all good.”
“Okay.” Her fingers drum nervously over the top of the canvas before she repeats, “Okay.”
“I’m assuming that’s not the constellation Aires?”
“No. I’ll have to start on that tomorrow.” With a deep inhale, Echo pulls out a chair from the table and rests the painting on the arms and leans it against the back so it will stay upright.
Air rushes out of my body, and I sink onto our bed. It’s the same damned shock as when she drew my parents this past spring. There’s awe and joy and this ache that hits deep in my gut. I bend forward and rest my joint hands on my knees and stare at the sight in front of me.
Fuck me, my eyes burn. I shut them, attempting to get my shit together. It’s a painting. Only a painting. I reopen them, and it’s the same disorientation as a right hook to the head. It’s more than a painting, and that’s the reason my throat swells.
Last night meant as much to me as it did to her and she painted it, capturing it in a way unique to Echo. She’s right, it’s not done. It’s a skeleton compared to her other work, but I see enough to know what she desires, what she plans to design. Up close all those colors would look like chaos, but when viewed as a whole it creates this beautiful picture. In the end, that’s the best way to describe me and Echo, our relationship. Our love.
The bed dips as Echo eases onto it, settles behind me and props her chin on my shoulder. Her signature scent that reminds me of walking into a bakery becomes an invisible blanket surrounding me. “What do you think?”
“It’s us,” I whisper, and knots form in my stomach. Echo always finds a way to blow my mind. She tenses behind me and I continue, “It’s where we spent last night.”
“It is.” Echo relaxes, and her fingers curl around my biceps. “Do you like it?”
Struggling for composure, I place my hand over hers and pause. “It’s…”
I’m not Echo. I don’t have words for what happens inside me. If I did, I’d fail at describing this. I shift to rest my forehead against hers. “I don’t deserve you.”
“That’s my statement,” she says so only I can hear. “I wish we were alone again.”
I press my lips to hers, slide my hand through her hair and watch as the curls bounce back into place. “Me, too.”



Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

 Find Katie: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram

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