Book Review: Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

Title: Long Way Home (Thunder Road #3)30738170

Author: Katie McGarry

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 5/5 Stars




 

Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.




 

Book three of the Thunder Road series was possibly my favorite. I feel like books 1 and 2 set book three up perfectly. I wasn’t so sure that I would enjoy reading from Violet and Chevy’s perspectives but I think they were the best. This one also starts out with way more action than the first two. That’s what I really loved about it.

We see Violet on occasion going against the MC because of her father’s death, during her few scenes in the first two, but finally getting in her head and watching how strong she is was incredible.

Most reviews on GoodReads seem to agree with me on the fact that they weren’t sure they were going to enjoy a book with Violet as the main character but they all ended up enjoying it. I honestly found myself noticing more motorcycles and wanting to be a part of that world while I was reading this book.

Spoilers Ahead

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It did leave me with some questions though, like what Chevy’s mom thought about him going to see his half brother and possibly not becoming a member of the MC when he turns 18. I figured her reaction should have been a big deal.

I also wondered what happened with Addison. I thought this was supposed to be the final book, but McGarry seems to set it up well for another one featuring Addison, Breanna’s friend from the second book. We’ve heard about her troubling home life many times and even hear it mentioned that someone in the MC has their eyes on her.

Please let there be another book!!

Book Review: Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

Title: Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2)Walk-the-Edge-cover

Author: Katie McGarry

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 4/5 Stars




 

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.




 

The second book in the Thunder Road series starts off a little bit slower than the first but it picks up pretty quickly after that and it was eventually hard for me to put down. I was hoping for more cameo’s from Emily and Oz of the first book, but we still see some main members of the Reign of Terror back in action.

I felt such sadness for the lives Razor and Breanna had to lead. But I loved how well they worked together. As with the first book in the Thunder Road series, toward the end we have a very dramatic life versus death scene and I was honestly so shocked that things came down to that situation.

Loved this book, not enough for a perfect rating, but it did have a wonderfully, well thought out plot.

Now onto book three!

Book Buying Ban

I have a problem.

I officially have purchased too many books and I’m in over my head with my TBR list. Yikes!

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I heard a ‘booktuber’ the other day mention in a video that they’re currently on a ‘book buying ban’. I thought, huh, it’s possible to stop buying books? I used to not be bad about buying books and not reading them. I would only buy a book, read it and then by another one. Since I’ve started blogging over a year ago, I’ve gone into the habit of buying a book every time I see one that interests me, even if I didn’t have the time to read it.

My name’s Breanna and I’m addicted to buying books.

 

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But some of them are cheap e-books! I protest.

No, I must not buy any more books until I at least finish my hard copy TBR list.

Here are the books that I must read before I can lift my book buying ban (non-e-books). Preferably in this order:

 

 

Wow, that’s a lot of paperbacks/hardback books…

I’ve been piling those up for about a year now. I have read Nevermore, but I’d like to re-read it before I read the rest of the series. I’ll probably marathon those in October.

And here are the books I’ve been stockpiling on my kindle that I need to read. I usually breeze through those because I read quicker on my kindle as opposed to physical copies.

 

Folks, if you didn’t count, that’s 18 books to read before my book buying ban is lifted. That’s a ton in my opinion. I’m also less than five books away from completing my GoodReads challenge! Thanks to my subscribers for pushing me to read more this year! 

Have you considered going on a book buying ban? This is a first for me!

June Wrap Up, July TBR & July Camp NaNoWriMo Prep!

June Wrap Up

 

 

Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker– 4/5 stars. Great beachy summer romance from a local (to me) author. The only thing that I wish was different was that the only POV’s be between Tanner and Paige, instead of all four characters.

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry– 4/5 stars. I think I ended up liking the second book in this series better than the first book, but they’re still not hitting a perfect score with me. However, I felt more compassion throughout the book for Razor and Breanna, more than I had for Oz and Emily from the first Thunder Road book.

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry– Probably my favorite book out of this series. I feel like all the other books have set us up for Violet and Chevy’s story! Review to come!

I also just realized every book I read in June (and finished) was set in Kentucky! How cool is that? 

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July TBR

July is not going to be a reading month for me since NaNo will be going on, but I am going to try and finish one book that I started in June and read a few chapters from a book I recently purchased.

I’ve been reading chapters here and there on Letters to my Daughters, it’s one of those feel good, faith books. I’ve been trying my best to read up more on my bible and books like LtmD:TAoBaW, it’s just a book that I’m making a habit of pulling out before bed to read and relax.

Once and For All, Sarah Dessen’s latest release, just came out a few weeks ago and I thought this would be a good book to focus on in July during camp NaNo. You’re supposed to read how you want to write, right? I’d love to be as successful of a writer as Dessen. Here’s to hoping.

And I’ll also be reading a romance novel, just to take a break from CAMP and all the other marriage/wedding stuff haha. Sometimes it’s nice to read something sexy! I’ll be at the lake for a weekend, so the romance will be a fun breather.

 

 

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep

July Session

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Back in April, I started writing a new summer contemporary YA novel. Since then, I’ve been editing here and there trying to prepare for July’s session of camp. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I struggled the final week of camp in April, especially that final day and I only have a goal of 40k. I’m hoping this month goes a bit smoother, with a goal of 30k. I have a pretty good feeling about this one now, better than anything I’ve written before.

During edits this June, I haven’t had to scrap too much, just the last couple thousand words because they didn’t even fit with the plot. I was just writing to hit the word goal that last day in April. Probably the worst writing month I’ve ever had.

I’m excited for this coming camp NaNo though. I have a great cabin (some people from April’s session and my husband), so I should be pushed to finish. Wish me luck!

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Author Interview: Khardine Gray

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  1. How did you get into writing?

    My earliest memory of writing was when I was about 11 years old. I loved reading books like Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew. I remembered thinking on one occasion that I wished one of the stories had ended differently. Then it occurred to me that I could try to create my own stories.

That was my light bulb moment and there hasn’t been a day that passed since I didn’t write something. Even if it was for ten minutes.

I have stacks of handwritten books from my childhood and teenage imagination that I plan to revisit one day. In 2015 I thought about trying to get published, so I sent off my manuscript and was completely shocked when it was accepted. My life has changed immensely since then.

2. How can authors develop an emotional connection between their readers and their characters?

I think it’s important to build that connection with my readers. I do newsletters each week so that I can keep in touch. In those I always let my readers know how much I appreciate them and how I love to hear from them. I try to find topics that they like to discuss and encourage them to connect . My husband pointed out once that I’m supposed write for my readers. If I don’t then it would be better to just imagine up my stories in my head and not bother to write them down. He was right. My readers are like gold dust to me and they inspire me to continue doing what I love the most. 51XAYNG4eAL._SY346_

In regards to my characters, I think of them as pieces of my imagination I’ve given life to. They are very much a part of me and are a result of everything I’ve experienced internally, and externally in the world around me.

The same way I love my readers, I love my characters and I do everything to make my characters as real as possible so that emotional connection can be made. I spend a lot of time creating my characters and I go as far as listing down everything about them. That way I know exactly what they would do in different situations. How they feel, what they would say, what effect different things and people would have on them.

My aim is to create memorable characters so that my readers will never forget them. 

  1. What’s the best summer beach read? If you could take that book anywhere in the world, where would you go to read it?

I like Susan Elizabeth Phillips. My favorite book by her is Natural Born Charmer. I’d read that on the beach for sure and I’d love to read it on one of the amazing beaches on Okinawa Island, Japan. I’d be right at home reading there. It’s truly beautiful and has that scenic landscape worthy of a screen saver.

  1. What makes romance your genre of choice? Are any of your characters based on personal experiences?

    I love writing about love and falling in love. I’m one of those people who values love and it fascinates me to create characters who have this intense magical feeling that draws them together.

         I think I identify a lot with my characters in I Only Have Eyes For You. grey 3

        Of all my books that’s probably the one where I’ve mingled a few of my personal experiences with the fiction world I created. I guess I am a lot like my heroine, Savannah too. We love shopping, pizza, our family and friends.

Savannah made this big life change that would allow her to follow her dreams and not just do things because she was good at it. She wanted to do something that made her happy, something that truly represented her. I feel that I did this with my decision to be an author.

 I am good at a lot of things and I have a great academic background, but I felt that I reached a stage in my life where it was time to do what made me happiest. Savannah travelled to Japan and things took off for her from there. I submitted my manuscript to a publisher and that’s when things changed for me.

5. There can sometimes be a bit of stigma surrounding romance readers and writers. Have you ever had any negative experiences resulting from your profession as a romance writer?

I haven’t really had much negativity I think it’s because I tend to share what I do with those who I know will be interested. There was someone though who once said to me that writing romance will never be a stable career. I knew different because I know authors who make six figures a month. gray 1

Aside from that I tend to not worry about what others think of me. I’m definitely in my element when I write and writing romance is a craft that comes from within. I write from my soul, knowing that gives me the strength to deflect any negativity that may come my way.

 

For more from Khardine Gray, check out her website.

Book Review: Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker

Title: Mann Cakes51efs1nWV2L__SY346_

Author: Mysti Parker

Genre: Romance

Rating: 4/5 Stars




 

Twin brothers and Air Force vets, Tanner and Garrett Mann, return from deployment to find their thriving business burned to the ground. Time for Plan B: Move back to their hometown of Beach Pointe to start over.

But that means running into Paige and Morgan Baxter –gorgeous, curvy, and owners of Two Sisters Cupcakes.

There’s an old diner for sale across town, Garrett’s a great cook, and Tanner has an idea. They’ll make savory cupcakes that men would like. We’re talking bacon and Cheez Whiz. Even better? They’ll call it Mann Cakes. Problem is, they end up attracting an unexpected crowd.

Paige is furious. Every man in her life has left her behind, including Tanner. She’s sacrificed everything for her shop. She won’t lose it over some egotistical ex-boyfriend, even if he does have an Air Force-chiseled body. Her younger sister, Morgan, isn’t helping matters. She’s been gaga over Garrett since high school.

To hell with that. If it’s a fight Tanner wants, it’s a fight he’ll get. But how much is Paige willing to risk to win a cupcake war?




 

Set in a small Kentucky community, Mann Cakes is opening its doors in the hopes of giving the Beach Pointe men some savory cupcake options. However, the women end up being the ones with more than sweet tooth’s, wanting selfies with the Mann brothers instead of making cupcake purchases and also taking away some of the Baxter girls business. Garrett and Tanner man have history with the Baxter ladies though, Tanner dated Paige and then left, breaking her heart so with their return, she’s ready to take Mann Cakes down. Meanwhile, Morgan and Garrett start something they wish happened when they were younger.

Mann Cakes is a cute and sweet (pun intended) romance with a hint of a thrill. Though there’s drama in the relationships, it’s all innocent and fun. The romance is strong in this one with many swoon worthy moments and not too many erotic scenes which is refreshing. So if you’re wanting to take a break from your normal smutty romance, this book is for you. There were only a handful of ‘sexy’ scenes with strong descriptions.

I wish there had been more to the thrill part of this. The Mann brothers original business had been burned to the ground, Tanner’s car had been vandalized and then the big catastrophe at the end. I feel like the Mann brothers should have been way more concerned about someone out there that was out to get them.

I didn’t give this novel a perfect score because I wanted more tension, information on the possible threat and I think it should have only been in Tanner and Paige’s POV’s. Maybe Mysti could have made a follow up in Garrett and Morgan’s POV.

With summer vacations coming up, this is a great read for lounging by the pool. And if you’re addicted to sweets like me, your mouth will be salivating from the cover and reading about cupcakes all day.

Book Review: Fireworks by Katie Cotugno

Title: FireworksFireworks_JKT

Author: Katie Cotugno

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 4/5 Stars




 

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.




 

Katie Cotugno just released a new book and of course I had it pre-ordered months ago! Fireworks fell a little short for me though, compared to her previous novels How to Love and 99 Days, yet I still devoured this book in a matter of days because Cotugno’s writing is so easy and fun to read.

The characters in Fireworks weren’t as easy for me to love as characters in her previous books. I felt like everyone was unreachable, like they were on a pedestal and I couldn’t relate to them easily. Dana came from a not so well off family, so she should have been easy to relate to, but I wanted to see more of her home life. What did her mother think of her leaving town to become a girl in a pop group? Did her mom even notice she left? And why didn’t she bring a swim suit with her to Orlando?! Don’t Floridians always have swimsuits with them no matter what?!

The romance was just enough in this, I was kind of worried it would be lacking based on the plot, but I was very pleased in the end. I found myself putting a ton of trust in Alex, more trust than I’ve ever put in a male character. He was so kind and patient with Dana while she was going through her problems in Orlando and back home in Jessel.

What I find funny is I never seem to like Cotugno’s main characters best friend. I hated Olivia so much. She came off as a backstabber from the beginning. We don’t see a great conclusion between ‘Dolivia’, but I think it’s the only conclusion that would have worked.

And that cover, Katie, keep doing the polaroid look on your books! Like 99 Days and this, they are so aesthetically pleasing! I’m loving all of her covers so much!

Though Dana doesn’t get a 100% happy ending, I like to believe that she was at least happy with her decisions. And I love that about all three of Cotugno’s books. She leaves them open-ended but without a cliffhanger. You know that the character is going to be all right, but they still have some conflict by the last sentence, just nothing major.

Overall, if you’re going to read anything by Cotugno, I’d read 99 Days or How to Love first. Fireworks doesn’t do Cotugno’s writing justice. However, I am so pumped for her next novel, Top Ten, that’s supposed to come out later this year.

 

May Wrap Up & June TBR

 

May Wrap Up

Shadowlith by Stuart Thaman

If you love fantasy and you’re looking for an up and coming author, you need to check this book out. It’s great for people who are trying to get into reading the fantasy genre and lovers of fantasy already. Check out my review here.

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno

Huge fan of Katie Cotugno’s writing! Sadly, this one fell short for me but it was devoured in about a week because I love her writing so much. If you’re going to read any of her books, my top recommendation is 99 Days. Review coming on my blog June 9th.

June TBR

I want June to be a decent reading month and I think I can manage 4-5 books. I don’t have Camp NaNo until July, so I plan on reading my heart out!

 

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry- The second book in the Thunder Road series. I meant to finish this one in May but I didn’t feel like reading because I was sick for about a week and a half.

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry- The third book in the Thunder Road series! I’m just going to finish the series this month because I know they’re fun and easy reads.

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen- New Release from Sarah Dessen! This comes out June 6th, and I’m pumped up for this one!

Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker- My husband was at a book signing in April and he brought me home a copy of this from one of his author friends. She managed to sell out of this book! So cool!

Into the Deep by Samantha Young- This one was recommended to me by a friend and I decided to give the series a shot considering they take place in Ireland. I recently got my DNA test results back and found out I’m 24% Irish, so now I’m kind of obsessed with anything related to my ‘home country’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Shadowlith by Stuart Thaman

Title: Shadowlith (Book 1 in The Umbral Blade Series)1490375765404

Author: Stuart Thaman

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 Stars




 

Alistair the Fourth was a mighty general from a long-forgotten war. Four hundred years later, Alster Lightbridge is barely a shadow of his legendary namesake. Crippled and confined to his family’s estate, he spends his days dreaming of something larger than himself—something worthy of his name.

Encouraged by his tutor to explore the Lightbridge archive, Alster discovers a magical dagger with the power to cleave shadows from their bodies. Blade in hand, Alster finally understands his purpose, though he needs to find a four-centuries-old grave in order to fulfill it.




 

I don’t read fantasy… at all… but when my husband tells me that he’s putting out a YA fantasy novel, I have to read it! That being said, I’m going to try my best to make this review as unbiased as possible, though I do believe it is well deserving of a perfect 5/5 star review.

What I love to see is writer’s get better as they progress in their novels. This being Thaman’s second fantasy series, I believe it’s a huge step forward in his writing. If you were to compare this novel to his first book, you could tell more time and effort has been put forth.

It’s also an easier read, and there’s less characters to remember than the first fantasy series, The Goblin Wars. I’m used to reading contemporary YA where there are only a handful of characters to follow. Shadowlith has about six main characters to focus on. This allows you to feel more emotions for each character. Elsey was probably my favorite character (that survived) because of the changes she went through during the beginning of a book. She was so excited to get out of the town that she grew up in and go on an adventure with her friend, but then accidents happen and she realizes this adventure to find the Shadow King’s tomb is not for the faint of heart. I really hope in the second book that we see her grow up more and become a super badass female worrier.

Now the ending….

No spoilers ahead! I promise.

I felt like this book closed off on a good note. Let’s say if you didn’t want to read the rest of the books in the series, you could stop (but you don’t want to!) However, Thaman does set our characters up for a huge plot for the next book which I really loved.

Definitely, check this one out. Loved Alster and Elsey.

 

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen Review

Title: Saint Anythingsaint_anything-540x822

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Contemporary Young Adult

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars




 

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.




 

I’ve read seven of Sarah Dessen’s books, now eight and I’ve always been a huge fan. Her books are super cute and fun to read. I usually reserve her books for my summer time reading, but I finished this one in March because I wanted to get it out of the way before her new novel comes out.

This one fell a little short for me, but the writing was fantastic and it’s one of Dessen’s more mature novels, as in the plot is something an adult may experience and I felt like Sydney was very mature for her age, even for a YA character. She’s gone through something life changing that not many teens her age have to deal with, which makes her seem wise beyond her years.

I’m guilty of loving ‘insta-love’ and this book was not that at all like Dessen’s other books. This novel is more of a story of friendship, to my surprise I loved seeing Sydney’s interactions with the Chatham’s (mainly Layla, Mac and Mrs. Chatham).

You know what’s nice? Seeing our main character interact with her parents. It’s a pet peeve of mine when parents are only mentioned in one scene of a YA novel. In this novel, we see her parents in almost every chapter. I can’t stand her mother’s opinions and choices, but it’s nice to still know she is a teenager and someone’s at home worrying about her.

Was anyone else thoroughly creeped out by Ames from the very beginning?!  Way to go Mrs. Dessen for coming up with the most unsettling character I’ve ever encountered in your books!

The character development in this novel was excellent. Dessen manages to pull us into a scene and then give us some backstory on the character and then get us back into the scene again.

However, if you’re looking for a cute summer love story like we’re used to from Dessen, you’re not going to find it in this one. The romance doesn’t begin until the novel is over 75% of the way through and we don’t see much either, just a few kisses. Mac seemed like the only underdeveloped character because of this. I really wanted to see more back story with his weight and why it didn’t work out with his ex girlfriend. I probably would have given this a perfect rating had their been more of a relationship like I’m used to while reading Dessen novels.

Dessen did give us a great ending though, solving most of Sydney’s problems up in the final chapter… well except for the one…

Anyone planning on reading Once and For All!? I have it on preorder!