Thursday, July 31, 2014

Behind The Pages #7 - Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

Welcome to my new Behind The Pages post! You can find last month's post of this feature, with Bethany Neal and her debut novel My Last Kiss, here. Today I'm sharing comments from Katie McGarry on a scene of CRASH INTO ME.

What is Behind The Pages all about? I asked some of my favourite authors and a bunch of promising 2014 debut authors to annotate a scene, page or more of one of their books. I see the feature as a chance to show readers what's behind a page. Authors can share their favourite writing memories, the music that influenced a certain scene or anything else that comes to their mind. We might get hints to what the characters were thinking and feeling that exact moment or other fun details about their story. Hope you enjoy Behind The Pages as much as I do. I'm intending this feature to be a monthly post here on the blog.

Thanks to all the incredible authors who took the time to annotate a page or scene for us, your comments are always so insightful and fun to read. When readers can't get enough of a book and its characters it only shows how much the author's work means to them, to us. Thank you! 


The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life—that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

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, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. 

Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website,, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads. (Author bio found on Goodreads)


Crash Into You by Katie McGarry - Rachel's Point of View

 "In this scene, Isaiah has taken Rachel to his favorite place which is on a hill overlooking the city lights. Isaiah had just pointed out where her house is on the horizon. This is where the conversation picks up:" 


Snap Shot

Here's a picture to go along with this scene, found here.



"I think in terms of themes and big picture stuff when I write. I look at a scene and think of a song that inspired me or the overall emotion I was trying to convey", says Katie McGarry. This scene was inspired by the song Lighters by Bad Meets Evil ft. Bruno Mars. I really love the song!! (This is the youtube video for Lighters. Warning, there is cursing in this video).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Review: Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Title: Let's Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: July 29th 2014
Length: 352 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, road trip, romance, friendship
Source: Edelweiss

Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

Summary by Goodreads

LET'S GET LOST is made up of five parts, each of them divided into about seven or eight chapters. In his debut novel Adi Alsaid tells the stories of Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia. They are stories about friendship, family, and love. Running away from the past, being scared of the future and how to make up for your mistakes. What connects their stories and makes up the fifth part of the book is the story of a wonderfully warm and caring girl named Leila. She helps Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia on her way and makes friends for a lifetime. I almost couldn't believe she wanted to drive all the way to Alaska to see the Northern Lights. Such a crazily exciting trip!

Adi Alsaid wrote one delightfully different road trip. Leila's adventure isn't about sightseeing only, but more about the people she meets along the way. Just like Leila I've been wanting to see the Northern Lights. I spent three weeks in the North of Sweden, but never got the chance to actually see them. So this book gives me a good excuse to fly to Alaska and lie down in a clearing just like Leila did. Leila really impressed me! 

All five stories stand for themselves, and at the same time are connected by Leila's generosity, her kindness, bravery and friendship. And they all had something to do with being lost and wanting to be found, wanting to find your own way in life. There were various parallels between every story that connected them in a meaningful way. Leila helps those teens get through the night and when the new day dawns they might actually find what they've been looking for for all this time.
With a few nuances the story could've moved to a deeper emotional level, even more than it ultimately did. Most of the story is about the teens Leila makes friends with and their lives and only a small part of the story is about Leila herself and what this road trip means to her. 
Also, she kisses Hudson, the first boy she meets on her trip and I would not be surprised if you hoped for them to see each other again just like I did for the entire book. Theirs is a subtle and great love story!

Adi Alsaid has a talent to zoom in on great moments and capture them, make them appear in detail and vibrance. Some parts of this story read like the script to an epic YA contemp movie version of LET'S GET LOST. Really hoping to see this one on the big screen some day!

5/5 ***** LET'S GET LOST - A brilliant debut novel with an epic road trip, postcards, new friends and all the things that make life so unexpectedly beautiful.

I have never marked so many sentences as favourite quotes on my kindle before! You really want to get lost in Leila's story. The beautiful writing of Adi Alsaid makes her story come alive and feel as meaningful and beautiful as a favourite YA contemporary novel should in order to stay with you and your friends for a long time. LET'S GET LOST is a favourite of mine, too.

"How unfair that the person breaking your heart could still be resoundingly beautiful, that her face was still the one you loved the most." Source

LET'S GET LOST by Adi Alsaid you might also enjoy AMY & ROGER'S EPIC DETOUR by Morgan Matson, SAVING JUNE by Hannah Harrington and HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski. I really liked all three of these road trip adventures and the many emotions they conveyed. 


* You can find more LET'S GET LOST quotes here.

* Click here to read an excerpt of LET'S GET LOST.

* Want to meet Adi? Check out his event schedule.

* You can now add Adi's next book ALWAYS, NEVER, SOMETIMES (2015) to your Goodreads shelves.

* For more information about Adi and his books visit

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mini Reviews #26

Looking for some thrilling YA reads this summer and fall? Then these are your books! THE MURDER COMPLEX by Lindsay Cummings, BLACKBIRD by Anna Carey and UNRAVELING by Elizabeth Norris.

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

This debut transports its readers to a futuristic world where life means nothing and killing is everything. It's time for Meadow Woodson, who has been trained to fight and survive anything, to find her place in this cruel and dangerous society. Zephyr James is already part of that system, an assassin. Their roles in the system could uncover truths and secrets that could ultimately hurt both of them and destroy their new-found bond. 
THE MURDER COMPLEX is made up of short chapters told from Zephyr and Meadow's perspectives which I liked both. The actual story could be confusing at times though. When one string of action had just begun and got promptly interrupted by another, I tended to fail to stay on top of things. The system our characters are caught in is dangerous. When starting this read you have to expect violence to be a big part of this very extreme and unpolished world Lindsay Cummings invented. And it's no surprise society is slowly and inevitably crumbling under the weight of violene, death and betrayal. In the end this twisted game of killing and being killed was even too wicked for me.

3/5 *** THE MURDER COMPLEX -  One bloody great debut some would say! Rough characters, dark story line with unpolished writing in some places.

THE MURDER COMPLEX is Lindsay Cummings' debut novel. She's come a long way to become a published YA author. And she came up with a very powerful story idea, centred around a reckless society reigned by one of the most dangerous threats to humanity, murder. Promising story concept, lacking in realization. This book is for readers who are looking for extreme and challenging reads.

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publishing Date: June 10th 2014
Length: 398 pages
Keywords: YA, thriller, dystopia, killing society, romance
Source: Edelweiss
Author's Homepage

Blackbird by Anna Carey

"A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her." 
Sometimes it felt like Anna Carey kind of threw her readers on the train tracks, too, and asked them to work out how to like BLACKBIRD with so few information about our heroine and everything about her life. BLACKBIRD starts as a complete mystery that needs to be solved step by step. First it was difficult for me to get into the mood for this kind of story. But then suddenly one third into the story, I was so invested I just needed to read all of it as soon as possible. Especially the love story and creepy flashbacks worked perfectly for me to make Anna Carey's newest book an equally dark and desirable fall read 2014.

4/5 **** BLACKBIRD - Anna Carey's newest book is a fall '14 highlight and should be an auto-buy for YA thriller readers!

BLACKBIRD is a definite must-read for fans of the MARA DYER series, too. It might not be as extreme and terrifying but sure sets a dark and dangerous atmosphere for one girl's fight to find out her true identity. The hunt for clues, the never-ending run from her pursuers and secret girl's relentless willpower are what make Anna Carey's new book so exciting and memorable.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: September 16th 2014
Length: 256 pages
Keywords: YA, thriller, mystery, romance
Source: Edelweiss
Author's Homepage

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Janelle and Ben have the most uncommon start for a love at first sight. The story of UNRAVELING begins when a boy saves a girl's life and literally brings her back from the dead after she's been hit by a car and her heart stopped beating. How he did that and how Janelle and Ben are going to save the world together will be explored in Elizabeth Norris' fast-paced YA thriller debut.
UNRAVELING is a sci-fi thriller with many mysterious occurrences. It's also set over the course of 24 days. I was unable to put it down! 
It's when Janelle discovers a clock that counts down to the destruction of the earth, that our countdown of 24 days starts. In the beginning of every chapter there's a note on how much time is left, increasing the urgency and the enormity of what's at risk. Her familiar situation isn't that simple either and her brother, father and mother are definitly no happy family. I really loved that part of the story and its sincerity and realness. Just as real was the romance between Janelle and Ben. It was destined to be, impulsive and hot. And the end of UNRAVLING totally broke my heart! Very much need to get to its sequel, UNBREAKABLE soon.

5/5 ***** UNRAVELING - A badass teen agent caught between an unforgettable love story, a murder investigation and parallel worlds.

UNRAVELING is one of my favourite YA thrillers and I absolutely loved that Janelle was so passionate and professional about everything she did. She's a great investigator (probably thanks to her father being an FBI agent), always says what's on her mind and is fighting for justice whenever she can. The whole story reminded me a bit of a more mysterious and scientific Veronica Mars. If you decide to pick up a copy of this first book in a duology, you should get ready to solve a few gruesome crime cases and enjoy the romance between Ben and Janelle which is just as sweet.

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: April 24th 2012
Length: 464 pages
Keywords: YA, thriller, mystery, romance, FBI, parallel worlds
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Vacation, Beach Reads & Puppies

It feels pretty good to be blogging again after the extended break I had to take for two reasons. First, there was the three-week vacation in Denmark. And the second reason is named Kira. Our Golden retriever Amy is 1 1/2 years old now and since she hasn't lost her anxiety about loud noises and new places, we decided it best to get a second dog who might be able to stabilize her in situations of great distress. Kira is a Bernaise Mountain dog and 13 weeks old. We got her just before we left for Denmark and so far it has been a stressfull, but awesome time with her. After two days of obsessive stalking the little pup, Amy grew to like her so much and has been showing signs of feeling more secure in certain situations. I believe Amy & Kira are already best buddies for life. They enjoyed the vacation and absolutely loved the beach. Here are a few pictures.

The Denmark vacation was much needed and finally I had time to read a few books that I've been dying to read in the past months. I feel like my blogging spirits have been re-energized and I can finally catch up on a few reviews. I managed to read 10 books in total (started the first at home and finished the last at home,too). Here's what I read in Denmark

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg **** 4 stars
Veronica Mars - The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham **** 4 stars
Hooked by Liz Fichera *** 3 stars
The One by Kiera Cass **** 4 stars
Unsticky by Sarra Manning **** 4 stars

TAKE A BOW by Elizabeth Eulberg was a very cute read and the perfect book to kick off my reading vacation. I've been wanting to read VERONICA MARS - THE THOUSAND DOLLAR TAN LINE by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham since I've watched the movie and while it wasn't as fulfulling as the Tv show or the movie, it was definitely great to read about what happens in Neptune after the movie ends. HOOKED by Liz Fichera was an okay read. I saw a lot of people tweeting that they practically hated THE ONE by Kiera Cass so I was quite surprised that I actually liked it. I took me almost a week to read UNSTICKY by Sarra Manning and even though I had a slow start and difficulties to get into the story, I really grew to like Grace in the end.

Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison *** 3 stars
The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black ***/* 3,5 stars
It Had to Be You by Jo Carnegie ****/* 4,5 stars
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland ***** 5 stars
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick **** 4 stars

LOBSTERS by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison an okay read for me, funny but sometimes too juvenile. Cassandra Clare and Holly Black working together on a book is a dream come true for many readers. THE IRON TRIAL was a good Middle Grade read with a comforting sort of magic to it. IT HAD TO BE YOU by Jo Carnegie was the perfect read to satisfy my chick lit needs. When I read NANTUCKET BLUE by Leila Howland, it finally felt like I'd found my beach read of the year. Ordered a copy of its sequel NANTUCKET RED after chapter two or three. Coming out in October, BLACK ICE by Becca Fitzpatrick is a dark and dangerous thriller that was awesome in a whole different way than the beach reads before.

After years of avoiding novellas I finally finished my first! And all because of...Warner! I never thought I'd fall in love with him because I was totally shipping Juliette and Adam in SHATTER ME. My loyalties began to shift in UNRAVEL ME and by possibly the end of chapter one in IGNITE ME, my heart belonged to Warner and that hasn't changed since. DESTROY ME is written from Warner's point of view. Now I'd kill for IGNITE ME written from his perspective! Even though I'm pretty sure I won't become a novella girl, I'm very happy I read this one. **** 4 stars go to DESTROY ME!

Q! So that's what I read so far this summer. Tell me about your vacation or the books you read. Which is your favourite summer read so far?

Mini Reviews #25

After an extended blogging break I'm finally back with a new mini reviews post. 17 FIRST KISSES by Rachael Allen, THE THINGS YOU KISS GOODBYE by Leslie Connor and THROUGH TO YOU by Lauren Barnholdt  are June and July 2014 releases and all make for great summer reads.

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

Claire and Megan are best friends and they are completely boy-crazy. When a new boy moves to town Claire is determined he could finally be her one true love but she has to risk her friendship with Megan in order to test her theory.
Claire and Megan's friendship was always presented like it couldn't coexist with their dating life. Her list of kisses, which Claire often talks about like trophies or inanities, is long. And so I couldn't help thinking that her emotional world felt very limited. Or maybe I just  couldn't see any sense in the fight she has with her supposedly best friend Megan over the new boy Luke. 
Luke and Claire's love story could've been something to enjoy if he really were the one boy who she truly cared about. But with all the fighting going on between the two girls, their romance gets petty and complicated fast and wasn't that romantic and dreamy in the end.

3/5 *** 17 FIRST KISSES - A mostly kissable YA contemporary debut 2014. But better be prepared for all the boy drama!

One potentially great love story for Claire is not nearly enough to make up for all the juvenile fighting between Claire and Megan we have to endure. But Rachael Allen also tells a bunch of funny, awkward and cute stories of first kisses that make her debut novel a YA contemporary you might want to check out.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: June 17th 2014
Length: 319 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, friendship
Source: Edelweiss
Author's Homepage

The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

Bettina lives a very controlled life somewhat removed from friends, dating or fun activities other people her age would take for granted. She lives on a farm with her parents and two little brothers and has to abide by the strict rules her Greek father enforces on her. I often felt sorry for her since her father seemed to observe her every move and keep her outings to a very limited number. And where the family story didn't really work for me, Bettina's love life was looking kind of complicated, too. It wasn't always easy to feel a connection to Bettina. 
She also lives in an abusive relationship until she meets someone new. A different boy, an older boy. Two love stories and not one of them really convinced me. Then there's a great tragedy, too, which changes everything. You see, Bettina's story is anything but easy. Hopefully, many readers will appreciate the time Leslie Connor gave her protagonist in order to come out of all the unfortunate things she had to deal with, changed and a better and stronger person.

3/5 *** THE THINGS YOU KISS GOODBYE - A very special love story with Greek temper and a tragedy that changes everything! 

Bettina's story was pretty decent. She was a character I liked one chapter, then had a few issues with in the next. So in general, I feel very ambivalent about this story when I look at the balance of its bright and very dark moments. One thing I have to give Leslie Connor, she definitely surprised me at one point in the story, so much so that the story got a different quality to it. Totally unexpected!

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publishing Date: June 24th 2014
Length: 368 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, family, friendship, abuse, Greek culture
Source: Publisher
Author's Homepage

Through To You by Lauren Barnholdt

Harper and Penn's story is one that tells how opposites attract each other. Lauren Barnholdt's newest book is told from his and her perspective. Chapters read fast and easily, which I liked just fine.
When I hear about a new novel by Lauren Barnholdt I'm always excited about the story and can't wait to read it, but in the end it's just not enough. With its cute premise THROUGH TO YOU sounded like the kind of story fans of Simone Elkeles or Katie McGarry could be interested in. But as always with Lauren's books, the characters didn't feel as forthcoming, well-rounded or with enough emotional depth as they could've been. But don't get me wrong, Harper and Penn's love story is cute and I guess theirs is the one that I liked best out of Lauren's stories.

3/5 *** THROUGH TO YOU - Penn and Harper are Lauren Barnholdt's cutest couple so far!

I  like that Lauren Barnholdt's books always make for a fast and light read with a little morale lesson or emotional or personal conflict solved. I will keep reading her books even though I fear I won't ever be completely satisfied by them. Maybe if I just accept that, I can hopefully enjoy them more in the future.

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: July 8th 2014
Length: 256 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, high school
Source: Edelweiss
Author's Homepage