Monday, January 23, 2017

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry: Review + Excerpt + Giveaway!


Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Katie McGarry's new release, LONG WAY HOME! I truly loved LONG WAY HOME and I'm excited to be taking part in its release. So let's get started!

The highly anticipated third book in Katie McGarry’s Thunder Road Series is being released on January 31st! LONG WAY HOME is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance being published by Harlequin Teen! Pre-order your copy of the next book in this emotionally charged series, and don’t miss Violet and Chevy’s story! Check out all of the stops on this awesome tour and be sure to pre-order your copy for the amazing bonus scenes!


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.

LONG WAY HOME Pre-Order Links:

Amazon | Kobo | BAM | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

"An intoxicating and unforgettable story that kept me glued to the page."
Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on Walk the Edge

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

M Y  T H O U G H T S

As a fan of Katie McGarry, I look forward to each and every new release. And, not that I expected any different, this third and final book in the Thunder Road series did not disappoint.

Chevy and Violet grew up side by side, children of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club. Since the death of her father Violet has distanced herself from the Terror, including Chevy, the boy she has always loved. She considers the Terror’s continued involvement in her life as an unwanted intrusion and all she wants is to go to college and flee the small town and the reach of the Terror. When rival club, the Riot, becomes a threat to Violet, her mother and brother her only concern is keeping them safe. But is she willing to betray those she once considered family to make that happen?

The only life Chevy has ever know is life with the Terror. His mother has tried to counter their influence but Chevy has long straddled the line between her and the club that has always been family. With longtime love Violet cutting him and the Terror from her life, his uncertain future after high school, and the still unanswered questions about the father he never knew, Chevy feels the mounting pressure to choose sides.

Long Way Home started with a bang and kept me thoroughly invested until the very end – filled with tension, drama, romance and a twist I never saw coming. Chevy and Violet both found themselves in such impossible positions – faced with decisions that pitted one loyalty against another. How far would you go to protect someone you love? Would you betray one person if it meant saving another? Themes of what makes a family and what it means to be family were showcased so perfectly, along with loyalty, trust, forgiveness and forging your own path, even when that goes against expectations.

I truly loved Violet and Chevy’s story. Violet is a strong young woman who was never afraid to speak her mind or do what she felt needed to be done. She was devoted to her brother and longed to see him become independent – the same thing she wished for her other, despite their differences. Chevy, like so many of McGarry’s male protagonists, is fiercely loyal and fiercely protective – qualities that never fail to draw me in. As a young man living under the weight of others’ expectations, he has never allowed himself the freedom to decide what he truly wants from his life. The growth in these characters was so well done, so realistic, and made for a richer reading experience.

Fans already familiar with the Thunder Road world will be thrilled to finally see Chevy and Violet’s story told (as well as the appearance of a couple familiar faces from the Pushing the Limits series!). New readers will be instantly hooked and will no doubt be excited to backtrack and read the previous novels. Long Way Home is not to be missed and, while I’m sad to see this series end, I can’t wait to see what McGarry gives us next!


“You can do this.” I take Brandon’s hand in mine and give a reassuring squeeze. “I know you can.”

Brandon swallows hard, but nods. A combination of nervous energy and pride rushes through my veins as he grasps my hand in return and fists the cash in his other hand. He’s going to face his fears. The lift of my lips is genuine now. My brother believes in himself, and I believe in him and maybe we’re both going to be okay.

Right as Brandon takes a courageous step forward, two black leather vests slip in front of us and staring back at me is a half skull with fire blazing out of its eye sockets.

The world surrounding me turns red, and my blood begins to boil. “There’s a line and you just cut.”

Eli, one of my father’s once best friends, glances over his shoulder and winks at us as he pulls out his wallet. Like always, he has dark hair cut close to his head, plugs in his ears and a huge grin like we should be glad to see him. “I got you covered.”

Fabulous. Here comes the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club riding in on their black Harleys determined to save the day of people who really need to learn how to save themselves.

“No really, we got this,” I insist.

I try to muscle my way past to pay, but Eli’s right hand man, Pigpen, plants himself in front of me like the towering sack of testosterone and annoyance that he is. Then he’s on the move and I somehow find myself away from the ticket booth.

“Surprised to see you here, Violet.” Pigpen is in his late twenties and thinks he’s all handsome with his blond hair and big muscles. Because he was a Navy SEAL or Army Ranger or something outrageous like that, he also thinks he’s awesome, but he doesn’t impress me. “Surprised you’re here, but happy to see you. You haven’t been at a game all year.”

“I’ve been busy,” I say.

“Is that what you call avoiding anyone from the Terror? Busy?”

“Works for me.”

“Hi, Pigpen!” Brandon is lit up like a firefly who was convinced the rest of his species was extinct. Eli, of course, enjoying the role of savior, has his arm around Brandon’s shoulder as they join us.

“Hey, Stone.” Pigpen calls my brother by the stupid nickname the club created for him. “How’s it going?”

“Good. They bought our tickets, Vi!”

“Yep, they sure did, because little ol’ me couldn’t’ handle the big ol’ ticket booth on my own.” Heavy on the sarcasm and then a hard glare at Eli. “Brandon was going to buy his own ticket.”

Eli rolls his neck like he’s the one who owns the right to be annoyed. “Most people say thank you.”

“You’re missing the point.”

Eli pats my brother’s back. “Why don’t you head in with Pigpen? I’d like to catch up with Violet.”

Brandon bounces like a damn puppy dog given a treat and then rushes off into the stadium, leaving me with Thing Two. And to think my brother called me Vi. The little traitor.

“Pigpen,” I call out. “Don’t leave him.”

I forced my brother to tattle today and while the football game will make him smile, I’m also taking a calculated risk that the people he told on won’t be here. If they are here, I’m betting they won’t mess with Brandon as long as I’m around.

“You worry too much,” Pigpen answers without glancing back.

When it comes to my brother, they don’t worry enough about the right problems.

Eli watches as Brandon and Pigpen go into the stadium. Instead of taking a left for the bleachers, they go right for the concession stand, and I’m contemplating how to stab Pigpen in the jugular. Concession food brings my brother into a near state of euphoria, and because of the crappy day my brother and I had, I wanted to be the one that made him happy with a hot dog, nachos and a slushy.

Motorcycle men around the world, as far as I’m concerned, can just plain suck it.

Don’t Miss the First Two Titles in the Thunder Road Series! Grab your copies today!



Pre-order LONG WAY HOME by Katie McGarry, and fill out THIS FORM, to receive three previously unreleased bonus scenes featuring important “firsts” in the lives of your favorite characters from the world of Katie McGarry! Complete the form to register your pre-order at Offer Ends 1/31/17 at 11:59pm EST.

    Katie McGarry Bio: 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, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, NOWHERE BUT HERE and WALK THE EDGE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.  

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Sunday Post #41

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

What a week! It was a short work week for me due to the holiday and yet it still felt long. I was busy at the office all week and it made for some long days. Then came the inauguration and the women's marches on Washington, across the country, and around the world. Some truly historic events this past week. And while there has certainly been a degree of negativity surrounding this change of administration, it has been this photo that has elevated my spirits and just made me happy. 

Tuesday, January 17: This week's Top Ten Tuesday was all about sharing hidden gems. Those books that get overlooked or just totally deserve more love and attention. It was tough to keep it at just ten! I loved hearing in the comments that some of these were loved by others, too - and I loved checking out everyone else's hidden gems!

Thursday, January 19: I realized last week that I hadn't taken part in That's what He Said Thursday in months - and I missed it. I never get tired of swoony book boyfriends saying just the right things. For my return to TWHST I went with a no-brainer: meaning, pretty much any guy from Jennifer L. Armentrout. In this case, it was Reece from Fall With Me. ♥♥♥  

Saturday, January 21: By Your Side is not my favorite by Kasie West but I still really enjoyed it. It has all the hallmarks of a West novel - sweet, funny, cute and always on the clean side of YA contemporary - while also touching on a few more serious themes. I shared my thoughts on this one yesterday and it releases on January 31.     

Long Way Home - Katie McGarry
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things - Bryn Greenwood 

The Selection - Kiera Cass
Rome (AUDIO) - Jay Crownover

Lucian Divine - Renee Carlino
Punk 57 - Penelope Douglas

Full Tilt - Emma Scott

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
You know I want to hear about it! :)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side by Kasie West

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Format: eARC

Source: Publisher (via Edelweiss)

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon


In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

My Thoughts

When it comes to young adult contemporary, Kasie West is a real stand-out. She manages to create likable characters in real-life situations and the end result is a sweet, smart, funny feel-good read.

Autumn is looking forward to a winter weekend getaway with friends, especially since Jeff, her long-time crush, will be there. Instead, a misunderstanding leaves her locked in the public library. When she learns that Dax, the school bad boy, is locked in with her, she's determined to make the best of it and just get through the weekend. Unfortunately, Autumn suffers from anxiety and being trapped in the library, without her medication, becomes a real problem - until help comes from an unlikely source.

Back at home and at school, Autumn tries to return to her usual routines - doing the best she can while keeping her anxiety hidden from her friends. Life seems to be returning to normal... so why can't she stop thinking about Dax? 

I thoroughly enjoyed By Your Side and was completely charmed by Autumn and Dax. Autumn was outwardly popular and happy but privately dealing with issues that she was determined to keep from her friends. Dax kept everyone at arms length while he dealt with family issues that had landed him in foster care. It was impossible not to pull for these two who truly saw each other even when others didn't. Even though Autumn made some decisions that frustrated me, they still felt completely realistic for her age and in line with her personality. 

There was an amount of suspension of disbelief required when it came to the "locked in the library" scenario. While the lack of cell phones is explained in a believable way, it is still hard to imagine that every single landline phone was behind locked doors. (Ahem.) Beyond that my only quibble is with Autumn's friends who left a lot to be desired. BFF Lisa was... okay, but the rest of the group seemed to be pretty crappy friends and mainly acted like jerks.

By Your Side manages to touch on some serious themes without getting bogged down in drama or angst. Fans of contemporary YA will likely love this latest release from Kasie West.

3.75/5 STARS

Note: This title was provided to me by the publisher (via Edelweiss) in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

That's What He Said Thursday #28

(graphic created by Kei at The Lovely Pages Reviews)

That's What He Said Thursday is a weekly meme created 
and hosted bChapter Break. It's a fun way to share a quote 
from a favorite book boyfriend (aka male protagonist) to his girl.
For more info, visit Chapter Break here.
It's been ages since I've done a That's What He Said Thursday post (last October, I think?) so it's past time to share a quote from a swoony guy to a lucky girl, don't you think? :)

This one comes from Reece, former military turned cop, to Roxy. They both struggle with survivor's guilt but Reece is determined to show Roxy she still deserves a full, happy life.

Do you like your fictional guys to be super protective?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme 
So many books get released in any given week that it's impossible to keep up with them all. While I always keep up with my favorite authors, I wonder how many hidden gems have fallen through the cracks that I've never even heard of. Here are a few that I did read, and loved, and wish they got more attention because they sure deserve it.

Have you read any of these?
What book have you read that deserves more love? 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sound Bites Audiobook Reviews: Rule, Jet and Stuck-Up Suit

I've really done an about face over the last year when it comes to audio books. I enjoy listening on my daily commute and I almost almost have one downloaded from my library's Overdrive app that I'm currently listening to (in addition to whatever I'm currently reading). However, I'm a total purist when it comes to reading and while audio books can be fun, for me it's never as rich an experience as actually reading the physical book. Because of that, my thoughts are pretty brief and I'll be combining a couple reviews in each Sound Bites post.

Rule (Marked Men #1) by Jay Crownover

Narrated by: Sophie Eastlake and Michael Rahhal

Synopsis:  Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters.

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight--A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want--and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love... or each other.

WHAT I LIKED: Shaw and Rule were both characters that I connected with and felt for. Both were damaged and dealing with issues that shaped how they lived their lives. I enjoyed seeing how their differences (the good girl who always conformed and the bad boy who didn't care what anyone thought of his choices) both kept them apart and drew them together. I loved how they were so accepting of one another. There was a fun cast of secondary characters and the dual POV totally worked for me. Even some of the oh-so-familiar tropes didn't bother me (good girl/bad boy, total manwhore) because I was so invested in the characters.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The "big secret" Shaw had been keeping was painfully obvious and by the time it was revealed was almost anti-climatic. Also, all the heart to heart talks Rule had with his brother and friends felt so implausible. I just don't buy that these 20-something guys were sitting around discussing their feelings and relationship woes like they did. Not believable.

3.5/5 STARS

Jet (Marked Men #2) by Jay Crownover

Narrated by: Callie Dalton and Cal Wembley

Synopsis:  With his tight leather pants and a sharp edge that makes him dangerous, Jet Keller is every girl’s rock and roll fantasy. But Ayden Cross is done walking on the wild side with bad boys. She doesn’t want to give in to the heat she sees in Jet’s dark, haunted eyes. She’s afraid of getting burned from the sparks of their spontaneous combustion, even as his touch sets her on fire.

Jet can’t resist the Southern Belle with mile-long legs in cowboy boots who defies his every expectation. Yet the closer he feels to Ayden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows firsthand what happens to two people with very different ideas about relationships.

Will the blaze burn into an enduring love. . . or will it consume their dreams and turn them to ashes?

WHAT I LIKED: I liked seeing these two secondary characters from the first book in the series get their own story. Jet's loyalty to his mom continually put him in difficult situations and while sometimes it seemed over done I couldn't help but admire his desire to protect his mother. Jet was hard-working and focused and I just really enjoyed his character. And the ending was so good it helped make up for some of the stabby thoughts I was having for Ayden. While I wasn't quite as invested in this one as I was with Rule (the first book in the series) it was still a really enjoyable read. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Ayden made some seriously stupid choices and refused to just talk to Jet about what was going on in her life. She was (almost irrationally) determined to keep her past secret and instead of trusting Jet she made decisions on her own that affected them both. (Characters who make these self-sacrificing decisions because it's what's "best" for the other person is a big pet peeve of mine.) The whole "old Ayden and new Ayden" thing was overdone and became too repetitive. Ayden's determination to keep the secrets of her past was really run into the ground.

3.25/5 STARS

Stuck-Up Suit by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Narrated by: Joe Arden and Maxine Mitchell

Synopsis:  It started out like any other morning on the train - until I became mesmerized by the guy sitting across the aisle. He was barking at someone on his phone like he ruled the world. Who did the stuck-up suit think he was...God?

Actually, he looked like a god. That was about it.

When his stop came, he got up suddenly and left. So suddenly, he dropped his phone on the way out. I might have picked it up. I might have gone through all of his photos and called some of the numbers. I might have held on to the mystery man's phone for days, until I finally conjured up the courage to return it.

When I traipsed my ass across town to his fancy company, he refused to see me. So, I left the phone on the empty desk outside the arrogant jerk's office. I might have also left behind a dirty picture on it first, though.

I didn't expect him to text back.
I didn't expect our exchanges to be hot as hell.
I didn't expect to fall for him - all before we even met.

WHAT I LIKED: Stuck-Up Suit was fast-paced, with lots of banter and had a twist that I did not see coming. Soraya was a sassy Brooklyn girl who took no crap. Graham really was a stuck-up suit and could be a jerk, but I actually warmed to him pretty quickly. I thought his back-story (both with his mother and with his ex) was interesting and went a long way in explaining who he was. I liked the fact that he never wavered from what he wanted and he never gave up even when his situations arose that made his life more complicated.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The lightning speed at which Soraya and Graham's relationship progressed kind of made my head spin. They went from meeting, to sex, to being all up in each other's lives in the blink of an eye. And a decision Soraya made three-quarters into the story almost ruined the whole thing for me. I really can't stand it when a character makes some self-sacrificing decision about a relationship without discussing it with their partner because they decide it's what is best for the other person. Naturally, it's always the wrong decision and makes everyone miserable and unhappy. In this case, it changed my feelings about Soraya because it was such an asinine decision and also because, from a writing standpoint, it felt like drama for the sake of drama when it really wasn't needed. It *really* annoyed me here and lessened my overall enjoyment of the story.


Have you read any of these books?
Do you enjoy the good girl-bad boy/opposites attract tropes?