Category: katie mcgarry

REVIEW: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Hands down the best dystopian book I have ever read.

I know this is saying a lot considering The Hunger Games, Divergent, Delirium, Halo, Blood Red Road, The Giver, etc, but it’s true. Elizabeth Fama has created the first believable dystopian I have read.

Soleil lives in a world where in many countries they have divided the population into Night and Day. Strict restrictions guard each of the factions with the Day people being favored over the Night people, the smudges. Soleil is sadly a smudge, only allowed outside after dark, to do the same things other people do during the day.

The system works because it’s something that could happen to our society. Not every country on the planet has been abolished, Japan doesn’t have the Day/Night system, and transfers from Night to Day take place depending on what your position in work and the government are.

It makes sense because there’s less traffic on the subway, more productivity in factories where before there might only be one person on the night shift, now there’s a full crew. It helped countries get out of the economic slump and begin to solve their debts.

Soleil is about as normal as they come, and I love how the elements of a poverty imprisoned youth collide with a seemingly privileged doctor, Day Boy for lack of a better term (he has a name but I can’t remember it) is exactly what you’d expect from an intern trying not to piss off the powers that be to get his sanctioned scholarships and set on a good path in life.

It’s amazing how realistic Elizabeth Fama has made Plus One that it’s sometimes hard to believe it’s dystopian. I’d have to call it dystopian contemporary because the elements in the book besides the romance between Sol and Day Boy is obvious, the medical procedures, kidnappings, and cancer are all things that make this book very contemporary.

Do yourself a favor and get this one when it comes out. Elizabeth Fama has succeeded in being just like Katie McGarry when creating her characters, and as creative and out of this world as Frankie Rose with her world building. You will not regret picking this one up.

Cheers,
Rhi

P.S. I got this book off NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

REVIEW: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

O Hai,

Long time since I’ve reviewed a book, but it’s always that NetGalley policy thing chewing at me, reminding me that because Harlequin let me read Katie’s new book for free, I should probably say something about it on my blog.
And I’m lost for words. 
Katie has mad skills, a way with words, scenarios, and characters. Her characters leap off the pages and strangle you with their personalities. She can flip from messed up kid to jock to private school girl with disorder, you name it, she can peg that character 100% and let it breathe through the pages. 
Which is why I read her books. 
This one . . . well this one got me around 22% and from there on the emotional roller coaster of this read did not let go. I’m lucky that work today was a bit crap because otherwise I might find myself in trouble for reading while ahem, I should have been answering e-mails or ahem editing my book, oops. 
Katie’s books have a way of keeping me sane when I’m feeling like the world around me is chaos. I know it’s weird because her books are often full of chaos. She’s no stranger to social services or the system, and she understands a ton about the different familial situations people can end up in.
I have to say that I also respect her for her knowledge of drag racing, for experiencing it first hand and for emerging herself in that world completely. I think that any author that does intense research for a book is one that’s worth all the hours it took to read her book. Which were not much, I think I clocked out at about 5 hours, lol, not quite 6.94 seconds on an eighth strip, but I enjoyed the ride.
Looking forward to what Katie does with the next book . . . about West. 
Crash Into You hits November 26th and I suggest you loyal fans go get yourself a copy!
Cheers,
Rhi

BEA craziness and coincidence

O Hai!

So that’s me and David Levithan, the last really cool person I met at BEA and the last of many crazy coincidences. 
There are no good places to start so let me just say that I was NOT the girl having a panic attack and crying in the bathroom.
I WAS the girl striking up conversations with random people in line, getting lost in crowds, standing in looong lines for book signings and . . . are you ready for this one?
BEING RECOGNIZED.
Of the people I talked to, the shwag I handed out, the friends I made, and my revitalized opinion of NYC, being recognized was by far the craziest thing to happen to me at BEA.
And I’d love to say it happened once, but it didn’t, it happened about five times. 
If you follow my blog you will be getting a little updated list of ARCs I have at this point for giveaways and I’ll be running some separate giveaways in the next week or so.
In the meantime . . . David Levithan, the man with the crazy long lines for his book signings, the man who has been with Scholastic, Penguin, Random House, I mean really, everywhere. The man who wrote a book called Every Day which is another take on an idea I’ve had in my head for five years. The man who named the love interest in that book: Rhiannon.
I skipped his signing. I thought oh well I’m not going to get to meet him. Instead I focused all my energies on being FIRST in the Cassandra Clare line, which I was, until some front of the line pass holders showed up . . . not that I’m grumbling, they were awesome, and I exchanged some shwag with them.
I delayed my ride to the airport for Cassandra Clare and you all know why: she’s freaking Cassandra Clare! I remember when her book attacked me in a Wal-mart and I finally read her work (and then all her books) and understood that the way I write is very similar and that I was doing something right.
So hard to find an author connection like that when you’re starting out, but I did, so it was so good to get to say hi to her.
As I’m leaving, with book blogger number five who recognized me, there’s David, waltzing through the lobby area all on his lonesome . . . and so we talk about Every Day and about the woman in the UK named Rhiannon that he knows, and how it’s awesome that authors have similar ideas and execute them in wildly different ways.
And then I found a cab driver who’s daughter is into books and got lost in the Newwark Airport . . . and eventually ended up on the plane I’m on now.
I’m ecstatic, completely blown away that you even know who I am, bloggers, readers, friends, everyone! I’m so grateful for everyone who has picked up my book or chatted with me on facebook or just been part of this crazy ride.
While I won’t give away the juicy details, I think this was a great experience and something I’ll remember forever. 
Next year, BEA, me, you and a lot of books to sign, what do you think? Are you going to make it for little old me?
Hope you do and if you don’t make it to BEA, come to UtopYA in Nashville, June 26-28 and I will be there with books and ebooks cards, and bookmarks and stuff!
Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend!
Cheers,
Rhi

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

After reading Pushing The Limits I was hooked to Katie McGarry’s writing style. I read Pushing The Limits in two days, and while Dare You To took me a little longer it was definitely not because I wanted to. Things like work kept getting in the way and I kept having to put it down when I didn’t want to.

Dare You To happens after Pushing The Limits, but it’s not about Noah and Echo. This book is about Beth, and the horrible life she’s had to endure. This book is much stronger, more edgy, and resembles real life situations in a scary accurate way.

Without giving away the plot too much, Beth used to like getting drunk and high with Noah and Isaiah. She lived with both boys at her aunt’s house until something bad happens to her mom and custody of Beth goes to her Uncle Scott. Beth is forced to move from Louisville to Groveton where she used to go to elementary school. She doesn’t expect the kids to remember her, but they do. To make matters worse, there’s Ryan, all star baseball pitcher who keeps annoying her.

To be honest, I thought Isaiah and Beth were a better match, despite him being wrong for her. Ryan was good, but he was all american good, and too shiny. This isn’t really a book about a straight laced guy saving a girl whose fallen off the rails in her life. It’s actually the other way around. Beth ends up showing Ryan a different side to life that baseball and listening to his parents can’t give him. Beth pushes him to do things he’d never do. Yes, they dare each other to do things but that dare game started long ago between Ryan and his friends.

It’s so hard to explain in a review why this book is so good, but once you’re reading it you’ll understand. McGarry is effortless in her descriptions, dialogue, and plot. She paints her characters with such simple brushstrokes that while you can see what makes them stereotypical, you can also see where they bleed between the lines. Beth is no cookie cutter badass girl from the wrong side. At times she’s insecure, and skeptical. Ryan isn’t just great at baseball, he’s not your typical jock. Sometimes he’s got deep emotions.

It’s all of these things that make the words jump off the page and attack you. It makes it a very hard book to put down and one I constantly found myself going back to even when I was supposed to be doing other things.

Read this one, I dare you to.

Cheers
Rhi

P.S. I received this book off netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

“I won’t tell anyone, Echo. I promise.” Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. “You didn’t do that-did you? It was done to you?” No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Published: July 31st 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Links: Goodreads
Received: Received from Netgalley
Rating: 5 of 5

My thoughts:

I was skimming through Netgalley and chose this one along with a few others. Was pleasantly surprised when I was allowed to read this one! I admit I read the feedback about it first and was a bit skeptical since reviews were saying Katie McGarry was amazing, perfect, surrel, etc. etc. I’m always a bit wary when people have big things to live up to. That being said I read the first few pages of the book and put it down. Not the right time to read it for me.

Earlier this week I was feeling like yuck and wanted a book I could escape into for an afternoon. Honestly, with all the work I’ve been doing in June from moving stuff to storage, to festivals, to renovating my office, I needed a break from the world. My original plan was to sit on the new futon couch in my office and have a nap, but I chose Pushing the Limits. I guess it called to me and as I began reading and understanding what Echo was going through I was drawn in, unable to put it down.

I sat there for a good four hours doing nothing but reading, and found myself about forty percent through the book. I didn’t like Echo’s Dad, or the way everyone kept the truth from her. In my opinion, telling Echo the details instead of making her remember, would have been better for her sanity. Ashley, her ex babysitter, and Dad’s new wife, was hilarious. In the first scene Echo makes a comment about Ashley being the “Ashley Show” with her being pregnant and all, and throughout the book whenever Ashley showed up she couldn’t go one scene without trying to make it about her. I really didn’t like Echo’s friends, Grace, Natalia, etc. The popular mean girls who kept spouting crap about Echo’s social status and whether she was “in” or not. It could have come off cheesy but if I had to think about it, I had people act and talk the same way when I was in High School so yeah it does happen. The only friend I could stand was Lila, because she was the only true friend Echo had.

And then there was Noah. I don’t know where to begin with Noah because he’s not your usual, OMG kind of character. His reputation is the stoner who screws a lot of girls in the backseat of his car. Echo is his new flavor of the month apparently. Only, he’s not. His foster siblings do the pot. He doesn’t even look at another girl after he meets Echo and his main goal is to gain custody of his younger brothers. He saved them from a fire that killed his parents.

What I loved about Noah was the scenes from his POV. He’s such a guy and you’ll have to read it to see what I mean, but he’s a a very swoonworthy guy. Echo is a bit standoffish in her romantic prose, but she’s true to herself. I loved watching them struggle through the attraction to each other, finally give in, and how they came together in the end. Katie McGarry’s writing style is flawless and the book has such depth. It was like a living, breathing entity more than it was words on a page.

And that’s how I like it when I’m escaping in a book. I finished it in two days, but wished I could have sat there and finished it in one sitting.

This one gets major love from me, and is definitely worth more than five stars!