Saturday, June 15, 2019

Blog Tour: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry



I'm super excited to be participating in the Blog Tour for Only a Breath Apart! I actually participated in the Blog Tour back in January when it released, and I'll be sharing my review again now! And make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Title: Only a Breath Apart
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release: January 22, 2019
Pages: 368
Review: 4.5 Stars

Synopsis:

Bestselling author Katie McGarry’s trademark wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance is given a new twist in the gritty YA contemporary novel, Only a Breath Apart.

Jesse Lachlin is cursed.

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

You Can Find it At:

Review:

First Impressions

First off, I will read anything that Katie McGarry writes. No matter the premise, I will read it. There are a couple novellas I haven't read yet, but otherwise I've read all of her stuff. I was excited about Only a Breath Apart as soon as I discovered it. A new Katie McGarry release is always a gift. I was super excited when I got approved for the blog tour and got an advanced copy to read. As soon as I had some time, I dug in!

Characters

As far as characters go, Jesse and Scarlet weren't my favorite Katie McGarry creations, but I still liked them. Just so you know, my favorite couples are Echo & Noah and Rachel & Isaiah. Relationship goals right there. But I digress.

I really liked Scarlett. I sympathized with her, and just wanted her to get the best the world had to offer. I also felt that she and Echo would get along well. Scarlett has created the persona of 'Ice Queen' in order to handle life with a controlling/abusive father. She never knows when he might go off, so she and her family cater to his every need and whim. This makes real relationships hard. Scarlett acknowledges that, and that she is often the backup friend. She states that she's okay with that, but the reader can tell that it weighs on her. For a lot of the book, I just wanted to give Scarlett a hug. No one knew what she was going through, and so she often had to deal with issues on her own.

I wasn't a big fan of Jesse for a good bit of the book. While he was raised poor compared to Scarlett, he had a loving family behind him. That's not to say his life was easy, but by the time we meet him and Scarlett in present day, he's had a support system for a while. The only reason he doesn't have a stronger one is because he pushes people away. Jesse also has some friends, and while I find them interesting, I also found the quite rude. They routinely make fun of other kids at school, including Scarlett.

The romance between Jesse and Scarlett took some time to grow on me. I told a friend while reading that I was ready to ship it, but Jesse needed to make up a heck of a lot of stuff to Scarlett. Personally, I don't think I would have been able to forgive Jesse for everything, but Scarlett's a better person than I am. That said, the characters did grow over the course of the book, and by the end I was 100% behind their relationship.

World Building

One thing that was a big part of the world was religion/faith. It was vague, but present. I'm not a big fan of religion in books, but it stayed mostly on the supportive side and I know some teens really value that in books. So while it didn't land well with me, it wasn't necessarily a detracting factor.

Only a Breath Apart is a standalone novel. Some of Katie McGarry's books feature characters from previous ones. While there aren't any characters we already know, it seems to take place in the same general world. It would be fun to see Scarlett and Jesse run into some of our previous main characters in a side novella/extra.

Praise:

“Katie McGarry knows what YA is, how it works, and what it can do better than anyone, but she always takes it one step further.” ―Hypable

"Fair warning: Picture-perfect Scarlett and misunderstood Jesse will have you in your feels." ―Girls' Life Magazine

“Beyond a haunted teen romance is a beautiful, moving exploration of domestic violence, forgiveness, and self-love. ...Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming.” ―Kirkus, starred review

“McGarry ably captures the feeling of desperately wanting to come home to a friendship that has radically changed. The novel manages to tackle domestic violence in a way that never feels clichéd, and the romance is sure to win over even the most cynical reader. This is a story you’ll want to read slowly, just to be able to stay with the characters for a moment longer.” ―Booklist

“A gorgeous, heartfelt journey of redemption and love.” ―Wendy Higgins, New York Times bestselling author

“Powerful, emotional, and ultimately hopeful. An unforgettable story that will leave its mark on your heart.” ―C.J. Redwine, New York Times bestselling author

“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

“Meticulously weaves a fragile love story through a minefield of loss, broken trust, and familial curses both real and imagined. Haunting, authentic, and ultimately hopeful.” ―Tammara Webber, New York Times bestselling author

“A painful, beautiful, and utterly magical story about the family you’re born into versus the family you choose.” ―Trish Doller, author of In a Perfect World

“A touching tale of love and fate straight from the heartland.” ―Mindy McGinnis, author of The Female of the Species

“Scarlett and Jesse’s story will stay in your heart long after you finish the book.” ―Simone Elkeles, New York Times bestselling author

“Southern Gothic at its finest, this is Katie McGarry’s best book to date!” ―Miranda Kenneally, author of Catching Jordan and Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Author Bio:

Katie is the author of the PUSHING THE LIMITS series, THUNDER ROAD series, SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME, and the upcoming YA novel, ONLY A BREATH APART. Her novels have received starred reviews, critical acclaim and have won multiple awards including being a multiple Goodreads Choice Award Finalist for YA Fiction, multiple RT Magazine's Reviewer's Choice Award Finalist for Best YA Fiction, including a win in the category, and she was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick.  

You Can Find Her At:
Website
Instagram

Giveaway:


*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

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Tour:

Week One
June 13th Thursday JeanBookNerd Interview
June 14th Friday A Court of Coffee and Books Review
June 14th Friday A Bella Fairy Tale Review
June 15th Saturday Movies, Shows, & Books Excerpt
June 15th Saturday Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews Review
June 16th Sunday Lauren's Bookshelf Review
June 16th Sunday TTC Books and More Excerpt
June 17th Monday Bookish Kali Review
June 17th Monday Postcards for Ariel Excerpt
Week Two
JUNE 20th Thursday BookHounds YA Review and Excerpt
JUNE 20th Thursday Booklovers For Life Review
JUNE 21st Friday Wishful Endings Interview
JUNE 22nd Saturday A Dream Within A Dream Review
JUNE 22nd Saturday Sabrina's Paranormal Palace Review
JUNE 23rd Sunday A Bookish Dream Review
JUNE 23rd Sunday Crossroad Reviews Review
JUNE 24th Monday Nay's Pink Bookshelf Review
JUNE 24th Monday Sophie Reads YA Review

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday (170)


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I am excited for two August releases! First is Of Ice and Shadows by Audrey Coulthurst and second is These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch! Both books are sequels, which is also exciting.


I read Of Fire and Stars as an ARC back in 2016. And I absolutely LOVED it! So when I heard that a sequel was finally coming out, I was thrilled. I also recently got my hands on an ARC of Of Ice and Shadows, and that will probably be the next book I read. Book one ended in such a way that it could be a standalone or the start of a series. I'm not positive, but I believe it was initially set to be just one book, but it did so well that the publisher okayed a sequel (and a prequel). Whatever happened, I'm excited that I finally get to hold the book in my hands. I can't wait to read Mare and Denna's next adventure and to cheer them on the entire way!

Synopsis:

Princesses Denna and Mare are in love and together at last—only to face a new set of dangers.

Mare just wants to settle down with the girl she loves, which would be easier if Denna weren’t gifted with forbidden and volatile fire magic. Denna must learn to control her powers, which means traveling in secret to the kingdom of Zumorda, where she can seek training without fear of persecution. Determined to help, Mare has agreed to serve as an ambassador as a cover for their journey.

But just after Mare and Denna arrive in Zumorda, an attack on a border town changes everything. Mare’s diplomatic mission is now urgent: She must quickly broker an alliance with the Zumordan queen to protect her homeland. However, the queen has no interest in allying with other kingdoms—it’s Denna’s untamed but powerful magic that catches her eye. The queen offers to teach Denna herself, and both girls know it would be dangerous to refuse.

As Denna’s powers grow stronger, Mare does her best to be the ambassador her kingdom needs. Her knowledge of Zumorda and its people grows, and so too do her suspicions about the queen’s intentions. With rising tensions and unexpected betrayals putting Mare and Denna in jeopardy and dangerous enemies emerging on all sides, can they protect their love and save their kingdoms?

Release: August 13, 2019

These Divided Shores is the sequel of These Rebel Waves. I absolutely loved book one, and reviewed it for Teenreads. The series also does a cool job of mixing technology (steam boats, etc) with fantasy. I ship Lu and Vex, and I hope they are able to get together in this book. It'll also be cool to see Lu and Ben interact. Ben was largely separate from the other characters in book one, some I'm excited to see him more in the story. Basically, I can't wait to find out what happens next and I hope all my preciouses are okay!

Synopsis:

As a child, she committed unforgivable acts to free Grace Loray from King Elazar of Argrid. Now Elazar’s plan to retake the island has surpassed Lu’s darkest fears: he’s holding her and his son, Ben, captive in an endlessly shifting prison, forcing them to make a weapon that will guarantee Elazar’s success. Escape is impossible—unless Lu becomes the ruthless soldier she hoped never to be again.

Vex failed to save Lu and Ben—and that torments him as much as his Shaking Sickness. With the disease worsening, Vex throws himself into the rebellion against Argrid. The remaining free armies are allied with the stream raider syndicates—and getting them to cooperate will take a strength Vex thought burned on a pyre six years ago.

Imprisoned, betrayed, and heartbroken, Ben is determined to end his father’s rampage. Watching Elazar sway the minds of Grace Loray as he did those of Argrid, Ben knows he has to play his father’s game of devotion to win this war. But how can a heretic prince defeat the Pious God?

As armies clash and magic rises, Lu, Vex, and Ben will confront their pasts . . . or lose their futures forever.

Release: August 27, 2019

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Top Ten Unpopular Bookish Opinions


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and The Artsy Reader Girl.

1. Book Boxes Aren't Great - They're expensive and many readers can't actually afford them

2. Harry Potter Isn't That Great Either - The books have a ton unnecessary details and Harry is pretty annoying

3. The Harry Potter Movies Are Better Than the Books - I said what I said

4. The Ending of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy Was Bad - Alina should NOT have ended up with Mal

5. Conferences With a YA Focus Should Have Teen Passes - Cons are often too expensive for teens to attend at the regular price, thus eliminating the target audience

6. Authors and Publishers Need to Treat Bloggers (Especially Teens) With More Respect - The blogging community can help make or break a book, and some of us are aspiring authors and potential future coworkers

7. The Fact That Publishers Have Stopped Releasing YA Paranormal Romance is a Travesty

I think I've run out of opinions, so I'll leave it at that. Do you have any unpopular opinions?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday (169): Crow Edition


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I am excited for The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson and The Merciful Crow by Margaret Own! That's right, it's Waiting on Wednesday Crow Edition!


Photo from Wikipedia


In The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson, crows are magical. That's right, magical crows. The only problem? All the crows are killed when an empire invades. The main character Anthia goes into a deep depression, until she discovers a crow egg in the rubble of a former rookery. As someone with depression, I'm interested to see how it's represented here. I'm also excited to see depression outside of so-called 'issue books' where the entire plot focuses on it. Another thing I'm excited for in the book is the sister relationship. Anthia works with her sister Caliza (who's also running the country) to secretly hatch the egg. Along with all the magical crow shenanigans, Anthia is also forced to get engaged to the crown of prince of the empire that invaded and killed her mother. There's a lot going on here, and I am ready to dig in!

Synopsis:

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life...until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother's death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

Release: July 9, 2019

The next book I'm excited for is The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen. This book does not have magical crows. Instead, the main character Fire belongs to the Crow caste, which is the lowest in their society. I saw a cool thread on Twitter from the author yesterday about Fie. In the beginning of the novel she is illiterate, and over the course of the book learns how to read. To tie in to that, how the book is written changes. It's cool but kinda complicated, so I'm gonna leave the link to the thread here. Through a series of events, Fie ends up entangled in a royal plot and is offered the chance of a lifetime. In exchange for acting as a bodyguard to the crown prince, he'll protect the Crow caste when he rules. I can't wait to read Fie's story!

Synopsis:

A future chieftain

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?

Release: July 30, 2019

And here's another crow for the road! What books are you excited for this week?

Photo from the New York Times

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Top Ten Favorite Paranormal/Fantasy Books


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and The Artsy Reader Girl. I love fantasy! I especially love paranormal (which takes place in our world), but those have been rather rare the past couple years.

1. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini - this was my all time favorite for years

2. White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

3. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

4. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

5. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

6. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

7. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

8. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

9. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

10. Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
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