Posted in Felicia

Only a Breath Apart Excerpt Reveal


Anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with contemporary books and that one of my absolute favorites is Katie McGarry. I requested an ARC as soon as I saw it available and then waited patiently to find out if I was going to be able to read it early or not. I may have screamed a little when the email came up on my phone and I saw the approval email.

I’m even more excited that I get to be part of the tour and excerpt reveal for Only a Breath Apart. I got to meet Katie McGarry several months ago when she was in Ohio and I loved listening to her talk about her inspiration behind all her books and all the research and work she puts into all of them.

Would you dare to defy destiny? Are our destinies written in stone? Do we become nothing more than the self-fulfilling prophesies of other people’s opinions? Or can we dare to become who we believe we were born to be?

 

“A gorgeous, heartfelt journey of redemption and love” (Wendy Higgins), ONLY A BREATH APART is a young adult contemporary novel from critically acclaimed Katie McGarry. “Haunting, authentic, and ultimately hopeful” (Tammara Webber), ONLY A BREATH APART will be available on all retailers on January 22, 2019!

About ONLY A BREATH APART:

Jesse dreams of working the land that’s been in his family forever. But he’s cursed to lose everything he loves most.

Scarlett is desperate to escape her “charmed” life. But leaving a small town is easier said than done.

Despite their history of heartbreak, when Jesse sees a way they can work together to each get what they want, Scarlett can’t say no.Each midnight meeting between Jesse and Scarlett will push them to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other.

 

Amazon | Kobo | Google Play | B-A-M | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

 


Gritty and real, Only a Breath Apart is a story of hope conjured from pain, strength drawn from innocence, and love earned from self-respect. Beautiful, poignant, and fierce.”
―Kristen Simmons, critically acclaimed author of the Article 5 series


 

Add it to your Goodreads today!

Excerpt:

SCARLETT

I’m defying my parents by attending a funeral. Reckless and adventurous teenage behavior, I know. Most seventeen-year-olds lie to their parents so they can go on a date with a forbidden boy or attend a party where there will be questionable behavior. Me? I’m outright lying to my dad, and it’s because Jesse Lachlin’s grandmother died.

The entire way here I’ve questioned my sanity, but I don’t know how I’d live with myself if I stayed home. Jesse Lachlin used to be my childhood best friend. We were inseparable. We had the type of friendship people strive to have, and then, a few years ago, he cut me so deeply that I still bleed. But ten-year-old me would have never abandoned a hurting Jesse. So today I’m not only honoring the memory of Jesse’s grandmother, but also the memory of our dead friendship.

On my way to the funeral, the high grass of the field swats at my legs, but I don’t mind the sting. I love walking barefoot in grass, I love the smell of the earth and I love that brief feeling of freedom open spaces can provide.

It’s the dog days of August. The type of hot that starts when the sun rises and makes you sweat through your clothes within minutes. While my skin and palms are on fire, the pads of my feet are cool against the dirt. The heat is unwelcome, but the sky is deep blue and the sun is bright, and for that, I can be grateful.

Walking out of the field, I stop short of crossing the one-lane road to slip on the flats that dangle from my fingertips. My mother would be mortified if she knew I was entering a church in a cotton daisy-print sundress. It’s not one of the dresses with stiff fabric and impossible back zippers she would have picked for me at an overpriced department store. It’s the type that’s machine-washable and breathable. The type of dress Jesse’s grandmother would have given her stamp of approval.

I can practically hear my mother heavily sigh and mumble my name, Scarlett, as if it were her personal, private curse word. Mom believes there’s a certain way to dress and behave, and I’m breaking all sorts of her rules today. Watch out, world. I’m officially rebellious.

I smile to myself because I’m the opposite of rebellious. For the last few years, I’ve followed every rule. I’m the teacher’s pet and the girl with straight A’s. I’m the poster child of perfection, and have earned every snarky ice princess comment Jesse’s friends whisper about me in the school hallways because he and I no longer speak.

There are only six cars in the parking lot of the white church, and that makes me frown. I thought more people would have wanted to attend. Jesse’s mud-covered pickup is there, and so is an unnaturally clean black Mercedes that belongs to his uncle. This ought to be interesting. Jesse and his uncle have a mutual hate for each other that runs deeper than any root of any tree.

Movement to my right and I slowly turn my head. Shivers run down my spine at the sight of Glory Gardner. Even though I’m seventeen and too old for ghost stories, I still can’t shake the ones regarding this woman. Girls would whisper over lunch boxes that Glory was a witch. As I grew older, I understood that witch meant con artist. She claims she can read palms, tarot cards and “sees” spirits from beyond the dead. All for a glorious fee.

She’s a beautiful woman—long dirty blond hair that’s untamed, even in a bun, and she has an eclectic taste in clothing. Today she wears a white peasant shirt and a flowing skirt made of material that shimmers in the sun.

Glory watches me like I watch her, with morbid curiosity. I knew her as a child, back when Jesse and I ran wild in the fields near her home, but we haven’t talked in years.

She stands under the shade of a towering weeping willow. There are lots of those trees around here. Mom says it’s because there is too much water in the ground. I say it’s because the people in this town have cried too many tears. Mom doesn’t like my answer.

I tilt my head toward the church, an unspoken question if Glory will be joining me. She shakes her head no. I’m not shocked. According to rumors, Glory will go up in flames if she enters the house of God. But who knows? Maybe I will, too.

The church is one of those picturesque, historical, one-room school buildings squeezed between a cornfield on one side and a hay field on the other. A huge steeple with a bell attempts to reach the heavens, but like anything created by a human, it falls tragically short.

The foreboding wooden door makes no noise as I open it, and I’m able to slip in without a huge, squeaking announcement. Orange light filters in through the dark stained glass windows, and its struggling beams reveal millions of dancing particles of dust.

On the altar, there’s no casket, but there is an urn. My heart dips—Suzanne is dead. I used to wish she were my grandmother, and many times, she treated me as if I belonged to her. Suzanne was the epitome of love, and the world feels colder now that she’s gone.

Choosing a spot in the back, I drop into a pew, and as I scan the church my stomach churns. How is it possible that this place is so barren?

Besides the Funeral Brigade, or the FB, as I like to refer to them, there aren’t many people here. The FB are the older group of woman who attend every funeral in our small town even if they didn’t know the person. Attending funerals isn’t my idea of fun, but who am I to judge?

The FB sit directly behind the one person the town believes to be the lone sane member of the Lachlin family, probably because he isn’t blood related—Jesse’s uncle.

On the left side of the church is Jesse. Only Jesse. And that causes a painful pang in my chest. Where are his stinking friends? The anarchists in training who follow Jesse wherever he goes? Where is the rest of the town? Yes, Suzanne was polarizing, but still, where is any respect?

Quietly, so I don’t draw attention to myself, I slip from the right set of pews to the left. Someone should be on Jesse’s side, and it’s sad it has to be me.

A door at the front of the church opens, and the pastor walks out from the addition the church build on as a small office ten years ago. I would have thought any pastor assigned to this place would be as ancient as this church. Sort of like an Indiana Jones Knights Templar scenario where he lives forever as long as he stays inside. But no, he’s the youngest pastor from the main, newer church in town. His name is Pastor Hughes, and he’s a thirty-something black man with a fit build who is just cute enough that he should be starring in a movie.

The pastor looks up, and he flinches as if startled. I peek over my shoulder then sigh. Clearly, he’s surprised to see me. Flipping fantastic.

His reaction, and the fact he won’t stop staring, causes every person to turn their heads. Lovely. I’ve had dreams like this where I enter a room and become the center of attention. Only in my dreams it’s at school, it’s my classmates and I’m naked, but still, this is disconcerting.

Eventually, the FB and Jesse’s uncle return their attention to the front, but Jesse doesn’t. He rests his arm on the back of the pew, and it’s hard to ignore that he’s made me his sole focus, but I do my best to act as if I don’t notice.

To help, I concentrate on what my mom taught me as a child—to make sure the skirt of my dress is tucked appropriately so that my thighs don’t show. I then fold my hands in my lap and straighten to a book-on-head posture. I can be the ice princess people claim me to be.

Five pews separate me and Jesse, and it’s not nearly enough. My cheeks burn under his continued inspection. Jesse has done this a handful of times since our freshman year. Glance at me as if I’m someone worth looking at, someone worth laughing with a little too loud and smiling with a little too much. Then he remembers who I am and snaps his gaze to someone else.

But he’s not looking away now.

 

Katie McGarry Bio:

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.

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Do you plan to pick up Only a Breath Apart on release day? I know I am!
Felicia

Posted in Felicia

Blog Tour for Dare You to Lie by Amber Lynn Natusch

Tour Banner - Dare You To Lie by Amber Lynn Natusch.png

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Dare You to Lie by Amber Lynn Natusch. This tour is being hosted by Pure Textuality. I will be sharing my review of Dare You to Lie.

Dare You To Lie by Amber Lynn Natusch
Series Hometown Antihero Book One
Genre Young Adult Mystery / Suspense
Publisher Tor Teen
Publication Date September 4, 2018
Amazon  https://amzn.to/2GZbmC1 
Barnes & Noble  http://bit.ly/2zCMPjA 
Kobo http://bit.ly/2uJ55SX 
iBooks https://apple.co/2LhS24S
Indiebound  http://bit.ly/2NhJR68

 

dare you to lieSYNOPSIS:

The first installment in the Hometown Antihero series by Amber Lynn Natusch.

When her FBI agent father is framed for murder, Kylene is forced to move in with her grandfather, back to the small town that turned its back on her, and the boy who betrayed her.

All Ky cares about is clearing her father’s name, but someone won’t let her forget the photo scandal that drove her away two years ago. As the threats gain momentum, Ky finds an unlikely ally in the annoyingly attractive rookie FBI agent sent to keep an eye on her.

Determined to expose the town’s hidden skeletons, Ky unwittingly thrusts herself into a much bigger plot. They thought she’d forgive and forget. They’re about to learn they messed with the wrong girl.

DARE YOU TO LIE, a young adult mystery read perfect for fans of Veronica Mars, Pretty Little Liars, or Riverdale.

Teaser 1 - Dare You To Lie by Amber Lynn Natusch.png

My Review:

Those that know the type of books I like to read will know that mystery/suspense books are not the type of books I usually read. Dare You to Lie is one that years ago, I honestly would have passed right by at a bookstore. I’m so glad I gave this book a shot because I’m completely obsessed with it and need more now!

I will give a trigger or content warning to physical abuse and sexual assault in this story.

Dare You to Lie starts off with Kylene’s father being convicted of murder and her mother leaving so she has to move in with her grandpa. They had moved away a couple years prior after pictures of Kylene were taken while she was naked and were leaked online. The suspects were all high school football players, who were protected instead of her.

Kylene easily falls back into her friendship with Garrett and makes a new friend with Tabby. Those three characters together are so amazing. The banter and conversations between them were some of my favorites.

Throughout the story, Kylene is trying to prove who took those pictures of her while also trying to prove her dad is innocent. She’s intelligent, but also doesn’t know when to stay quiet. This ends up causing a target to be placed on her.

This is one of those stories where it’s best to go into it without much background knowledge, so I won’t say more about the premise behind the story than that.

The pacing of Dare You to Lie is awesome. I read it slower than most books just because it’s not a genre I typically read and I wanted to make sure I was really getting all the information that I was being given. I never wanted to quit reading it though, which is something I always want in a story.

The cast of characters in Dare You to Lie were amazing. There are many that are so easy to like, while also having those ones you immediately don’t like and ones you question if you should trust them or not. Besides Kylene, Garrett, and Tabby, I really enjoyed the parts of the story with Gramps and Meg. While reading the story, Agent Dawson eventually grew on me.

Dare You to Lie got a 4.5/5 stars from me. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read more. I’m very excited that this is the start of a series because I knew halfway through that I would need more in this world.

Author Pic - Amber Lynn NatuschABOUT AMBER LYNN NATUSCH

AMBER LYNN NATUSCH is the author of the bestselling Caged series for adults. She was born and raised in Winnipeg, and is still deeply attached to her Canadian roots. She loves to dance and practice Muay Thai―but spends most of her time running a chiropractic practice with her husband, raising two young children, and attempting to write when she can lock herself in the bathroom for ten minutes of peace. Dare You to Lie is her debut YA novel with Tor Teen.

Posted in Felicia

Reign of the Fallen

reign of the fallenThis is one of those books that I’m so shocked it took me so long to read because I absolutely loved it. It took me a tiny bit longer than usual to read it, but that was only because I’ve had an off month with my reading and have been slower at finishing books than I usually am.

Content warnings: substance abuse, talk of suicide, violence, death, and some sexual activity, but it’s not explicit

Reign of the Fallen absolutely had me on a roller coaster of emotions, which is fitting considering the main character, Odessa, is also on a roller coaster of emotions throughout the story.

Reign of the Fallen follows Odessa, who is a teenage necromancer. She is known throughout the story as Sparrow because she seamlessly flies between the land of the living and the Deadlands. Her job is to kill and then resurrect the king of Karthia so he will able to rule for longer than what he already has.

In Reign of the Fallen, people are able to train for different classes of mages based on the color of their eyes. In the book, we get to see Odessa and her friends able to do different things based on their eye color. Blue eyes, like what Odessa, Evander, and Jax have, mean you’re able to study necromancy and are able to learn how to enter the Deadlands. Green eyes, like what Meredy has, means you’re able to become a beast master. I found this form of a magic system to be unique and well thought out. I loved that it was an organic way for a magic system to take form and that it was clear that a certain eye color meant you could do a certain thing.

The characters in this story were so amazing. Not only are they just amazing, but there is also racial diversity and sexual orientation diversity. Several of the characters are of different races. The main character, Odessa, is bisexual, while many of the other characters are gay as well. I adored this cast of characters so much and would read a story about any of them in a heartbeat.

Of course, what is a story without conflict. Even though there has been peace between the living and the dead for many years, it quickly becomes clear that not everyone has the same beliefs.

In this world, though the dead walk among the living, they must hide every inch of their body beneath a shroud. If a living person even catches a glimpse of their skin, they then turn into a shade. Shades are monsters who can’t control their actions or themselves and feast on anything that gets in their way. Once a person has become a shade, they can no longer be raised again.

Twists and turns start as royalty starts to go missing and master necromancers are killed. Odessa is brought in to solve the mystery because she’s one of the best necromancers around.

I loved how positive this story was in regards to sex in YA. Odessa has more than one partner throughout Reign of the Fallen and never apologizes for it or feels shame for it. This is something that is definitely needed more in the YA world of books.

I also loved that this book dealt with substance abuse. Unfortunately, this is an aspect of life that too many kids are all too well aware of. Even though this is a fantasy novel, it dealt with the aspect of addiction in the perfect way. It showed that not only does addiction affect the person who is addicted, but also the people who care about them as well. This type of discussion is so important and much needed and it was amazing to see it in a YA book.

Reign of the Fallen also deals with grief. I think this might have been the hardest part for me to read even though I haven’t lost many people in my life. Odessa’s pain is so hard to read because it is realistically done. I cried a lot while reading Reign because the loss felt oh so real.

Another aspect of this book is family. Not just family in the sense of blood, but the family you find as you live. The family you choose to enter your life through friendships and relationships.

Finally, I adored the Odessa is a bisexual main character. She’s not coming out. She’s not being ridiculed or anything like that for being bisexual. I love that there’s a book out in the world with an openly bisexual character where it is normalized and accepted.

Overall, this was an amazing book. The magic system is well thought out and the characters in the story are amazing. It has important topics and themes that I’m so glad to see in a YA story. Sarah Glenn Marsh is also one of the sweetest authors I’ve ever interacted with. I can’t wait for the sequel and whatever else Sarah comes up with.

Have you read Reign of the Fallen? If so, what were your thoughts on it?

Happy reading!
Felicia