About ONLY A BREATH APART:
Jesse dreams of working the land that’s been in his family forever. But he’s cursed to lose everything he loves most.
Despite their history of heartbreak, when Jesse sees a way they can work together to each get what they want, Scarlett can’t say no.Each midnight meeting between Jesse and Scarlett will push them to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other.
Now on to the excerpt!
I’m defying my parents by attending a funeral. Reckless and adventurous teenage behavior, I know. Most seventeen-year-olds lie to their parents so they can go on a date with a forbidden boy or attend a party where there will be questionable behavior. Me? I’m outright lying to my dad, and it’s because Jesse Lachlin’s grandmother died.
The entire way here I’ve questioned my sanity, but I don’t know how I’d live with myself if I stayed home. Jesse Lachlin used to be my childhood best friend. We were inseparable. We had the type of friendship people strive to have, and then, a few years ago, he cut me so deeply that I still bleed. But ten-year-old me would have never abandoned a hurting Jesse. So today I’m not only honoring the memory of Jesse’s grandmother, but also the memory of our dead friendship.
On my way to the funeral, the high grass of the field swats at my legs, but I don’t mind the sting. I love walking barefoot in grass, I love the smell of the earth and I love that brief feeling of freedom open spaces can provide.
It’s the dog days of August. The type of hot that starts when the sun rises and makes you sweat through your clothes within minutes. While my skin and palms are on fire, the pads of my feet are cool against the dirt. The heat is unwelcome, but the sky is deep blue and the sun is bright, and for that, I can be grateful.
Walking out of the field, I stop short of crossing the one-lane road to slip on the flats that dangle from my fingertips. My mother would be mortified if she knew I was entering a church in a cotton daisy-print sundress. It’s not one of the dresses with stiff fabric and impossible back zippers she would have picked for me at an overpriced department store. It’s the type that’s machine-washable and breathable. The type of dress Jesse’s grandmother would have given her stamp of approval.
I can practically hear my mother heavily sigh and mumble my name, Scarlett, as if it were her personal, private curse word. Mom believes there’s a certain way to dress and behave, and I’m breaking all sorts of her rules today. Watch out, world. I’m officially rebellious.
I smile to myself because I’m the opposite of rebellious. For the last few years, I’ve followed every rule. I’m the teacher’s pet and the girl with straight A’s. I’m the poster child of perfection, and have earned every snarky ice princess comment Jesse’s friends whisper about me in the school hallways because he and I no longer speak.
There are only six cars in the parking lot of the white church, and that makes me frown. I thought more people would have wanted to attend. Jesse’s mud-covered pickup is there, and so is an unnaturally clean black Mercedes that belongs to his uncle. This ought to be interesting. Jesse and his uncle have a mutual hate for each other that runs deeper than any root of any tree.
Movement to my right and I slowly turn my head. Shivers run down my spine at the sight of Glory Gardner. Even though I’m seventeen and too old for ghost stories, I still can’t shake the ones regarding this woman. Girls would whisper over lunch boxes that Glory was a witch. As I grew older, I understood that witch meant con artist. She claims she can read palms, tarot cards and “sees” spirits from beyond the dead. All for a glorious fee.
She’s a beautiful woman—long dirty blond hair that’s untamed, even in a bun, and she has an eclectic taste in clothing. Today she wears a white peasant shirt and a flowing skirt made of material that shimmers in the sun.
Glory watches me like I watch her, with morbid curiosity. I knew her as a child, back when Jesse and I ran wild in the fields near her home, but we haven’t talked in years.
She stands under the shade of a towering weeping willow. There are lots of those trees around here. Mom says it’s because there is too much water in the ground. I say it’s because the people in this town have cried too many tears. Mom doesn’t like my answer.
I tilt my head toward the church, an unspoken question if Glory will be joining me. She shakes her head no. I’m not shocked. According to rumors, Glory will go up in flames if she enters the house of God. But who knows? Maybe I will, too.
The church is one of those picturesque, historical, one-room school buildings squeezed between a cornfield on one side and a hay field on the other. A huge steeple with a bell attempts to reach the heavens, but like anything created by a human, it falls tragically short.
The foreboding wooden door makes no noise as I open it, and I’m able to slip in without a huge, squeaking announcement. Orange light filters in through the dark stained glass windows, and its struggling beams reveal millions of dancing particles of dust.
On the altar, there’s no casket, but there is an urn. My heart dips—Suzanne is dead. I used to wish she were my grandmother, and many times, she treated me as if I belonged to her. Suzanne was the epitome of love, and the world feels colder now that she’s gone.
Choosing a spot in the back, I drop into a pew, and as I scan the church my stomach churns. How is it possible that this place is so barren?
Besides the Funeral Brigade, or the FB, as I like to refer to them, there aren’t many people here. The FB are the older group of woman who attend every funeral in our small town even if they didn’t know the person. Attending funerals isn’t my idea of fun, but who am I to judge?
The FB sit directly behind the one person the town believes to be the lone sane member of the Lachlin family, probably because he isn’t blood related—Jesse’s uncle.
On the left side of the church is Jesse. Only Jesse. And that causes a painful pang in my chest. Where are his stinking friends? The anarchists in training who follow Jesse wherever he goes? Where is the rest of the town? Yes, Suzanne was polarizing, but still, where is any respect?
Quietly, so I don’t draw attention to myself, I slip from the right set of pews to the left. Someone should be on Jesse’s side, and it’s sad it has to be me.
A door at the front of the church opens, and the pastor walks out from the addition the church build on as a small office ten years ago. I would have thought any pastor assigned to this place would be as ancient as this church. Sort of like an Indiana Jones Knights Templar scenario where he lives forever as long as he stays inside. But no, he’s the youngest pastor from the main, newer church in town. His name is Pastor Hughes, and he’s a thirty-something black man with a fit build who is just cute enough that he should be starring in a movie.
The pastor looks up, and he flinches as if startled. I peek over my shoulder then sigh. Clearly, he’s surprised to see me. Flipping fantastic.
His reaction, and the fact he won’t stop staring, causes every person to turn their heads. Lovely. I’ve had dreams like this where I enter a room and become the center of attention. Only in my dreams it’s at school, it’s my classmates and I’m naked, but still, this is disconcerting.
Eventually, the FB and Jesse’s uncle return their attention to the front, but Jesse doesn’t. He rests his arm on the back of the pew, and it’s hard to ignore that he’s made me his sole focus, but I do my best to act as if I don’t notice.
To help, I concentrate on what my mom taught me as a child—to make sure the skirt of my dress is tucked appropriately so that my thighs don’t show. I then fold my hands in my lap and straighten to a book-on-head posture. I can be the ice princess people claim me to be.
Five pews separate me and Jesse, and it’s not nearly enough. My cheeks burn under his continued inspection. Jesse has done this a handful of times since our freshman year. Glance at me as if I’m someone worth looking at, someone worth laughing with a little too loud and smiling with a little too much. Then he remembers who I am and snaps his gaze to someone else.
But he’s not looking away now.
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See what other people have to say about ‘Only A Breath Apart’:
“Gritty and real, Only a Breath Apart is a story of hope conjured from pain, strength drawn from innocence, and love earned from self-respect. Beautiful, poignant, and fierce.”
―Kristen Simmons, critically acclaimed author of the Article 5 series
“A gorgeous, heartfelt journey of redemption and love” (Wendy Higgins)
“Haunting, authentic, and ultimately hopeful” (Tammara Webber)
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ I have a new book review for y’all! Today we will be discussing ‘Noteworthy’ by Riley Redgate, which was provided for review by Amulet Books. This book was released on May 2nd, 2017, & I will put a trigger warning about the amount of profanity in this book (because there’s a lot) so if this bothers you this might be one you wanna skip. We have a lot to talk about today so let’s get to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Noteworthy’ is about a high school junior Chinese-American girl named Jordan Sun who goes to a very expensive, very exclusive school called Kensington-Blaine Academy for the Performing Arts. Due to the fact that Jordan has a voice type that is lower than most girls, she has a difficult time booking roles in her school’s productions. When an opportunity to join Kensington’s premier all-male A Capella group the Sharpshooters arises, Jordan decides to masquerade as a boy for a chance to join the group & compete in an upcoming contest the Sharpshooters are in to win the opportunity to travel on a tour with a professional A Capella group called Aural Fixation. Due to the fact that Jordan is a scholarship student & her family is doing worst & worst financially, she feels that if she is able to go in this tour that her parents will finally see that her education at Kensington is worth the high price tag they have to pay for books & travel to & from the school every year. She also feels that her parents don’t support her dream of becoming an entertainer, so she hopes that they will fully support her dream if she wins a spot on this tour.
Ok now let’s dive into the review. I really wanted to like this book. I tried you guys, I really tried to like it, but I just couldn’t. This book had so much going for it: diverse characters, some funny dialogue between the characters that really made you love them, & show choir. I’m all about show choir you guys, I was in show choir for a little while in high school, so believe me when I say that I will always pick up a book that centers around music or musical theater. Unfortunately for this book, the problem was that it’s just so boring! The plot is super slow, Jordan is really annoying at times, & about half way through the book I wanted to drop it (and honestly if this hadn’t had been a review copy I would’ve dropped this book). I kept skimming through the last half of the book because I just wanted it to be over so I could move on to something else. Because of this I have to give this book a 1 smiley face review & will probably never read anything from this author again because her writing style just did not click for me.
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“It’s all frivolous, meaningless. The only things that matter are already gone or almost gone. Already put aside in my safe, tidy compartment of lost things.”- Lena from ‘Who We Are Instead’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review a new book called ‘Who We Are Instead’ by Kyla Stone, which was provided by for review by ‘Paper Moon Press’. This is a very interesting book that touches on themes of loss, love, family, & finding your purpose in life. Fair warning this book does discuss mental illness, child abuse/neglect, drug/alcohol use, undetermined rape self-harm, & suicide, so if these issues are triggering to you, please don’t read this book, or proceed with caution. Now let’s get to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Who We Are Instead’ follows the dual perspectives of sisters Lena & Lux McKenna as they are forced to confront their individual personal demons when their father has a heart attack & is given a very small window of time to live. Lena must return home from her arts college where she is studying photography, & take on her role as “the responsible one”, while trying to resolve her issues with 18 year old “wild child” Lux. As we learn more about Lena, we see that issues from her childhood have cause her to become a more guarded & introverted person. Contrary to Lena, Lux has no desire to succeed in school, likes to party, smoke, do drugs, & drink a lot, & also leaves home for weeks at a time without informing anyone as to where she’s going.
So now we’ve reached the big question, is this book worth your time? Honestly the answer is a very loud yes! In this book we not only get to experience both girls perspectives, but also get a very strong sense of who they are as people, what has shaped them, & what’s important to them. We also get romance plots for both girls, & get introduced to Lux’s AMAZING childhood friends. I also really like that all of the characters we meet are flawed in some way of another, & the author does not attempt to redeem each of them which unfortunately does often mirror our own world very closely. With Lena & Lux’s stories we see how similar past experiences can cause different reactions in each person. We see that some people fight the past they are given to create the future they desire, while others run from their past in order to numb the pain & protect themselves. ‘Who We Are Instead’ gives us a very realistic & gripping tale of what can happen when a fractured family finally shatters, while also leaving the ending as ambiguous & open to promise as Lena & Lux themselves are. Definitely a 5 star read that’s will give you all the feels, but as also make you think about these very important issues.
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The first song that we’re going to talk about is Beckah’s cover of Ed Sheeran’s song ‘Shape of You’, which was uploaded on April 20th, 2017 (you can check out the video below). This was the 1st cover of Beckah’s that I ever saw and honestly it hooked me right from the beginning. I love how she took a song about someone finding the love they crave in a person and instead turning into a song about finding love in Jesus. Although Ed’s version is great, I really like how Beckah took a club song and made it an AMAZING worship song. The next song we’re going to talk about is Beckah’s cover of ‘Sorry Not Sorry by Demi Lovato. This is the cover that will really show you just how much control and power Beckah’s voice has. This is definitely not an easy song to cover due to the incredibly high notes and long vocal runs the song has. This song definitely provides a round of vocal gymnastics for most vocalists however Beckah handles this challenge with ease. This is a cover that you will definitely want to blast from your car speakers this year!
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to discuss an awesome new YouTube channel that every book lover will want to subscribe to right now (well finish reading this post and then go subscribe to the channel…ok? Ok). On this channel Zoe gives her viewers book recommendations, shows us book/bookmark hauls, and proves that she’s a fangirl just like the rest of us (so we can all obsess over our OTPs together yay!!!). So if you’re ready to release your inner nerd then let’s talk about some of the videos on this amazing channel. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The first video that we’re going to talk about is Zoe’s ‘BOOK UNHAUL! [#1]’ video which was uploaded on June 28th, 2014 (you can check out this video below). Honestly this is one of the first book unhauls that I remember watching and I really like the concept of this type of video. Just in case you’re not familiar with this type of video, a book unhaul is when a BookTuber discusses books that they are going to get rid of because they did not enjoy the book, decided that they will probably never read the book, for various other reasons. These are really great videos to check out because you can get a person’s honest opinion about a book before spending money on it. After watching several videos on a BookTuber’s channel you usually get a good idea of what their personal tastes are, and if you have similar tastes then their opinion of a book will probably match your opinion. The next book that we’re going to talk about is Zoe’s ‘BOOKS I’M TAKING TO COLLEGE’ video, which was uploaded on August 22nd, 2014. Now as every book lover knows, if we could we would literally carry our book collections with us everywhere (and I realize that you can do that with e-books but that’s a different topic for a future blog post). If you are/will be living in an apartment or dorm room in the near future then this is an excellent video for you to check out because honestly it can be hard to leave books at home when you now you’ll be away from them for a while (ok we have to resist using #thestruggleisreal here…must resist…ok we obviously can’t because the struggle really is real).
Now we’re going to discuss Zoe’s ‘MY FICTIONAL BOYFRIENDS TAG’ video, which was uploaded on May 28th, 2015. Now we know we’re all fangirls/fanboys at heart, and because of this we honestly have a very deep emotional connection to our favorite book characters (and because of this so many ships are constantly set loose on the world). This is a really fun video that you will definitely have on replay, and a entertaining tag that you can play by yourself or with friends. The final video that we’re going to talk about is Zoe’s ‘BOOKS I WANT TO BE ADAPTED’ video, which was uploaded on December 30th, 2015 (you can check out the video below). If you love books (and you obviously really do if you’re still reading this post), then you know that you have a list of books that you think deserve a TV and/or film adaption. With the trend of so many of our fav books already getting adaptions, it is very likely that your favorite novel could get a small or big screen adaption some day. I highly recommend this video because Zoe gives a very interesting list that’s full of variety, so you’ll definitely find something you like on this list.
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday we are going to discuss an INCREDIBLE new band that you will all be completely addicted to. If you’ve never heard of Anthem Lights then you NEED to keep reading because this amazing bands and covers will instantly hook you from the first note. This band has the amazing ability to cover a wide variety of songs from different genres, and still make each cover sound unique, but also keeps the original vibe that originally made the song a hit. Anthem Lights is a Christian pop/rock band that currently has 379,301 subscribers and over 64 million total channel views on YouTube, and over 72,000 Twitter followers, so if you don’t want to miss out on the music industry’s next big thing then keep reading to learn all about this band’s awesome music. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The first video that we’re going to talk about is Anthem Lights’ cover of ‘This I Promise You’ by ‘NSYNC, which was uploaded on February 5th, 2013. I thought that this was an awesome cover to kick things off with because it allows each of the guys in the band to show off their amazing vocal skills. This cover is also a good example of this band’s phenomenal ability to take a song that we love, add the special Anthem Lights touch, and make the song feel like your listening to it for the first time. Next up we have Anthem Lights’ mash-up of the ‘2014 K-Love Fan Awards: Songs of the Year’ nominees, which was uploaded on March 11th, 2014 (you can check out below). This video is so incredible that you’re going to definitely replay it over and over. In this cover, Anthem lights takes multiple Contemporary Christian hits from the 2014 voting year, and combines all of the songs to create a memorable, entertaining video that fans will love (they have also released a 2015 edition so I would check that out too).
Now we’re going to talk about Anthem Lights cover of ‘Drops of Jupiter’ by Train, which was uploaded on March 11th, 2014. This can be a really difficult cover for an artist to pull off because it’s a very popular song, and is still a favorite among Train’s fan base. Once again Anthem Lights does an incredible job of making this song their own without changing what we originally loved about the song. Their vocals of this cover are so perfect that they instantly captivate you, and leave you mesmerized from beginning to end. The last video that we’re going to talk about is one of Anthem Lights’ original songs. It was extremely hard for me to pick just 3 covers to talk about (because all of their covers are amazing), so it was even more difficult to pick just 1 original song to write about I decided to pick a track off of their 2014 album ‘Escape’. Although I really loved all of the songs off of the album, I decided to go with the song ‘Top of the World’, because it’s a fun, energetic song that’s perfect to blast in the car. This song is a MUST HAVE on all of your playlists! The music video for this song was uploaded on YouTube on October 6th, 2014, and is just as fun and zany as the song itself (you can check out the video below). This video will definitely keep you entertained, and anxiously waiting to see what Anthem Lights releases next.
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iTunes: Anthem Lights