Saturday, November 30, 2013

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits #3) by Katie McGarry

Title: Crash into You  
Author: Katie McGarry
Series: (Pushing the Limits #3)
Pages: 474
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: November 26th, 2013
RateLoved it

From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane.
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.

"A debt, a villain, speed and bad odds. This is something I definitely want to be part of."

Like Logan, character from Crash Into You, said, this new Pushing the Limits story has love, a debt, a villain, speed, illegal stuff, bad odds and the promise of a better future. And I am madly in love with it!
With a mixture of Fast and Furious and the well-known Pushing the Limits style, Crash Into You shows us the story of bad boy Isaiah, Noah's best friend, who has had a bad time with girls since Beth chose Ryan in Dare You To. This hot mess meets sweet and rich Rachel whose passion is cars, speed and her Mustang. When they cross each other paths, they are doomed to fall in love. And this couple seemed to bring all the bad odds to themselves.
It was really refreshing reading another story of Katie McGarry and I was more than thrilled when I got approved in Netgalley and in the blog tour organized by YA Bound.
This book has a lot of potential. Not only because of the characters, the ones we know and cannot stop loving and the new ones that are unforgettable, but because this story has a lot of badass style: illegal car racing, the characters owe a supposed debt to a creepy, stalkerish villain, they end up racing to get the money and they get, again, in trouble. Like I said a great badass story!
So, definitely, what differentiates Crash Into You from the other Pushing The Limits stories is the need for speed, the passion for cars and the racing. And it was a thoughtful detail knowing Isaiah's passion for cars. It's what we, fans and readers, were waiting for. And Isaiah's girl HAD to be a crazy-for-cars girl. Obviously.
What made me cry from time to time, was Rachel's story. She was born to be a replacement child for her older sister who died of Leukemia. Her mother tried to compensate her loss by making Rachel be like her dead sister. She tries to be the perfect and girly daughter her mother wants her to be, but she has some deep problems that she cannot talk about because she won't be perfect if those problems were real.
Rachel's brothers is what every female can dream about boys and what growing up with a bunch of hot boys would be. And I hope we get to read more about these boys. *wink*
What annoyed me was how the whole family treated Rachel's mother. She's a grown up, she has to deal with loss and what comes after a loved one is gone. You cannot pretend like that didn't happen and try to transform your other kid into the dead one. And the whole family is the one to blame for that. They don't tell her the truth about the problems the family has for fear to loose her or to break her "happy bubble" after Rachel's sister died. And Rachel's the one suffering the consequences.

"The first moment I saw him, the night people clamored over each other to step out of his way, I was frightened. The guy with earrings and tattoos and an energy radiating danger. Now-inside and out-all I see is beauty."
And back to our adorable, bad boy and hot mess Isaiah. Us, fans of Pushing the Limits series, know how Isaiah is, and in this story is pretty much the same, with his sweet spot, however now is only for Rachel instead of Beth, his honor, his heart broken (thank you Beth) and that badass attitude, without being a jerk, that is something that defines him. I am madly in love with him and how he fights for Rachel and for protecting her. *sigh*
We also get to meet Isaiah's mother. Knowing Isaiah's background, this is something very important for this character.
Katie McGarry also creates some new and unforgettable characters to this story, aside from the ones we already meet in the other books. Rachel's new friend, Abby, thanks to her "friendship" with Isaiah, is a pretty weird and badass combination. I wasn't expecting to see these two together as friends, 'cause they are like black and white, but once you have seen them together you know they would rock as friends. Also, Logan is funny and unexpected, too. I wasn't expecting to see him and Isaiah become friends, but that happened and I am glad it did. He's funny and what I like to call a pretty cool friend. I don't think it would be the same without his interactions in the story.
Overall, this is one of my favorites YA Romances of all and my favorite story of Pushing The Limits, maybe because of all the car adrenaline and Rachel's personality. With an amazing plot, well-build and unforgettable characters and a perfect love story, Crash Into You is a must read book that you're gonna love as much as I did. That's why I'm giving this fantastic book five gorjuss dolls and waiting, anxiously, for the following book, 'cause, Book Addicts, it's going to be about West, Rachel's brother. Just Saying...
What are you waiting for? Don't miss yet another spectacular work of Katie McGarry.

"You can ignore me, Rachel, and you can try to treat me as a friend, but none of that will erase the fact that I think about kissing you every second I’m awake and dream at night of my hands on your body. And it sure as hell won’t erase that I’m terrified by how much I like you."

Ryan Guzman as Isaiah
Claudia Lee as Rachel

What do you think, Book Addicts?

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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.

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Extravaganzza: Dreamwalker (Persephone's League of Immortals #1) by Andrea Heltsley

434 pages
Release Date: May 23rd 2012
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Noel Kennedy lost her boyfriend, her job, and her dignity all in one week and then gained an entirely new life. Hunted by a mysterious league of immortals, Noel must rediscover her forgotten past while uncovering the truth behind the two men who battle for her heart, both in dreams and in reality.

Entranced, she slowly unravels a world she was meant to stay out of, one filled with creatures she once thought to be myth and dangers that threaten her very soul. Now Noel begins the fight for her life and must choose between two men who call to her heart. Can she escape a life of servitude or immortality for a chance at love?

Andrea Heltsley is a new adult and young adult author. She started writing in 2012 and hasn’t stopped since. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and two Italian Greyhounds. Ice cream, coffee and candy are always necessities. When writing, Andrea loves to listen to all kinds of music and always has a candle burning. When she’s not writing, you can find her nose in a book. Her favorite forms of entertainment are reading, Shakira and The Vampire Diaries.

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The Unofficial Book Blitz: The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater

The Last Bastion of the Living 
Rhiannon Frater
Publication date: June 12th 2012
Genres: Adult, Horror, Science Fiction
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The Bastion was humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. A fortified city with a high wall, surrounded by lush land rich with all the resources needed to survive, protected by high mountain summits, and a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, the Bastion became the last stronghold of the living on earth. But one fateful day, the gate failed and the Inferi Scourge destroyed the human settlements outside the walls and trapped the survivors inside the city. Now decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city as resources and hope dwindle.

Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her whole life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of her lover, Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.

Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.

The Last Bastion of the Living
by Rhiannon Frater

Maria was dozing lightly when Dwayne crawled into bed with her. The fans around the bed hummed softly, and her body was cool beneath the thin sheets. As Dwayne’s naked body stretched out next to hers, she rolled over and kissed him.
“You’re awake,” he said, surprised, and wrapped his arms around her.
“You’re late,” Maria replied. She ran her fingers down over his face, feeling the light poke of his stubble against her skin.
“You got my message, didn’t you?” Dwayne asked worriedly.
“Uh huh. Dinner with the kids.”
“The twins wanted to see me.” Dwayne’s hands gently pushed her hair back from her face, his fingers gentle as always. “Even Caitlyn joined us.”
Maria knew that Dwayne’s eldest daughter was usually unavailable. She was an assistant to one of the president’s council members. “How was she?”
“Argumentative as always. I felt like I was on trial. She should have been a lawyer. It was exhausting. I just wanted to get back here and see you.”
“Just see me?” Climbing on top of him, she whispered softly to him in Spanish, knowing he loved it.
“I don’t know what the hell you’re saying, but it sounds great,” he said with a little moan as she rubbed her bare breasts over his chest and kissed his neck.
Soon he was hard and inside her and they gasped as their bodies rode together. Dwayne wrapped his fingers in her hair and kissed her deeply as they came together, perfectly matched as always.
“I like that greeting,” he finally whispered in a husky voice.
Resting her forehead against his, she smiled slightly. “Me too.”
“I should get delayed more often,” he teased as his hands slid over her hips.
Maria’s hands traced over his muscled chest lightly, the light smattering of hair tickling her palms. She could sense Dwayne tensing as his expression grew concerned.
“Maria, why are you awake?”
“I have something to tell you.”
“Okay,” he said cautiously.
Sliding off of him and tucking herself into his side, she drew a breath, then said, “I volunteered today for a new program with the Science Warfare Division.”
“What? With the SWD? Why?” Sitting up, Dwayne frowned. “Explain it to me.”
“Technically, I’m not supposed to,” Maria replied, pushing herself up to face him.
Dwayne narrowed his eyes, his gaze growing steely. It was a look she remembered from when he had once been her commanding officer. It used to terrify her, but now it just made her want to comfort him.
“Cut the bullshit, Maria. We both know the SWD hasn’t done anything effective in years. If they want you for some sort of special ops, I want to know what it is. Petra was busting her ass all day trying to find out what is up with the SWD and the secret meetings today, and she came up empty. If you know something, I want to know. Not just because it concerns you, but because upper echelon has a tendency to leave me out of the loop when it matters most to our people. We already break enough rules being together, so spill it.”
Maria shoved her hair back from her face and sat cross legged in front of him. Pulling the sheet over her legs, she took a deep breath. “Fine. Fine. It’s a big operation and it has the full support of the president. It’s huge, Dwayne. I think this is why the president is so optimistic about finally beating back the Scrags.”
“Tell me more.” His voice was like steel and his gaze was intense.
Maria hesitated, knowing that what she was about to relate would only antagonize him more. “They asked me to volunteer because I’m physically fit, unattached as far as they know, and I’m not ‘breeding stock’ and therefore, not important to maintaining our population.”
“That’s a shitty way to put it.”
“I didn’t care much for his wording either. But the really big news is this, Dwayne,” she said, reaching out to take his hand, “they think they found a way to fool the Scrags into not attacking the living. It’s like an antidote. They said even if the Scrags did bite me, I wouldn’t get infected.”
“If they swarm you, that won’t matter. You’ll die.” Dwayne’s voice was clipped, his expression concerned.
“But if they think I’m one of them...” She flicked her dark eyes up to meet his vivid blue ones. “...they won’t swarm me.”
“They never attack each other,” Dwayne admitted, realizing where the conversation was leading.
“I could walk among them, kill them, and walk away without being attacked.” Hearing the words coming from her own lips made her shiver, but the excitement of being able to fight the Inferi Scourge without fear was like electricity in her blood. “I’m going to help clear the valley and close the gate.”
“So they forcibly conscripted you into doing this.” Dwayne shook his head.
“No. It’s volunteer only. They didn’t tell me the mission until I volunteered.”
“I should have known.” He leaned back on the pillows, covering his face with one hand. “The canceled meetings, the aircraft, the SWD being involved, and you being late back from your patrol.”
Maria tenderly rested her hand his chest. “I have to do this. They’ll give me a plot of land once the valley is cleared and the gate is repaired and shut. I can pick anywhere I want. I’ll get a standard settlement deal - one prefab house and furniture.” She leaned her chin on his shoulder and stared at him. “I want out of this city, Dwayne. I want those fuckers gone. I want a life with you. Maybe we can’t have kids, but we could have a good life if those things aren’t out there.”
Lifting his hand, he settled it against her cheek. “How long?”
“The serum will give us four to six months to clear the valley. They think I’m unattached, so...”
Dwayne held her tenderly against him. “Other people will do it. You don’t have to go.”
She was silent, unsure of how to answer.
Dwayne chuckled, shaking his head. “What am I saying? Of course, you do. You’ve been going batshit crazy with the rolling blackouts and shortages just like the rest of us.” He kissed her brow, smoothing her hair back from her face. “The one thing you can’t stand is not being able to do anything.”
“Exactly. So now that I can do something...”
“Once you’re back, the divorce will be settled, the twins will have graduated from high school, and we can concentrate on us. We will get married.”
“And move out to a nice prefab house near the lake,” Maria added.
“Absolutely.” He swept her hair back from her face. “I’ll miss you.”
“I’m doing this for us.”
“I know, but I’ll still miss you and worry about you every second you’re gone.” He sighed, then asked, “When are you going to leave?”
“In forty-eight hours,” she answered, her voice catching. Rubbing her palm against his chest, she struggled not to cry. “I love you, Dwayne Reichardt.”
“I love you, Maria Martinez.” He slightly frowned. “Forty-eight hours, huh?”
“Uh huh.”
“You won’t be doing much sleeping,” he decided and dragged her over on top of him.

by Rhiannon Frater 

I’m not going to lie. I need to be honest with you from the start. The honest to God truth of the matter is that I hate/despise/loathe a lot female characters that fall under the “badass” heroine banner. I often have to suppress the deep, dark desire to give them a roundhouse kick to the face. 

Well, if I could actually manage to do a roundhouse kick. I’m not that limber. 

Though there are plenty of amazing, strong female characters that I absolutely love with all my heart, there are a smorgasbord of female characters that really rub me the wrong way. The reason for this is simple. Badass has been confused with women who are just plain bitchy, self-centered, and mean. 

I didn’t really realize how ingrained the bitchy heroine had become in entertainment until I saw a script for one of my books. The heroine uttered a lot of really mean, nasty comments in the first few pages of the script and I was stunned by how awful she came across. I spoke to the scriptwriter about the added dialog and he answered, “Oh, I added that because I wanted her to come across as a strong.” 

“Uh, strong doesn’t mean bitchy,” I said carefully. To my surprise, and relief, he agreed and those lines were removed. 

But after that event, I realized that was exactly why some heroines really rub me the wrong way. To make a woman appear strong, a lot of writers have defaulted to making her really bitchy, egocentric, and often just plain mean. It hurts me whenever I see this trope in a book, movie, or TV show. A woman doesn’t have to be a bitch to be strong or badass. 

A badass female character should be someone you can see as a friend. Someone you love, cheer for, and believe in. You understand they’re flawed, but that’s okay. As they keep working hard to overcome all their obstacles and achieve a happy ending, you’re invested in their journey. 

Even when my heroines have something exceptional about them like Vanguard Maria Martinez in THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING, they exist realistically in their circumstances. Maria’s military training, intelligence, and determination to accomplish her mission all contribute to her badass factor. But the power that compels her to do extraordinary things isn’t her anger at an unfair world, but her love for a man who loves and respects her. Maria not only serves The Bastion, but her own heart. She struggles with fear, suffers loss, and knows that she may lose her life in the battle against the Inferi Scourge. But victory means freedom from the undead hordes and the ability to build her life with Dwayne, the man who sees beyond her hard veneer to the women she is inside. 

My goal when writing my strong female protagonists is to create realistic women who have strengths and flaws just like everyone else does. I don’t create perfect people that have nothing bad happen to them. Or women that all the men want to be with and all other women hate. I create women who could live in our own world very easily. They could be your neighbor, friend, or family member. 

In the end, I think Maria Martinez is a badass heroine because her strength doesn’t come from being bitchy, but from being a woman willing to do her very best to overcame the most terrible odds.

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor), as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog), and other horror novels. Her next novel for Tor, Dead Spots, will be published in 2014. She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.

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