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 we’re going to review a new Young Adult contemporary romance called ‘The Last Thing You Said’ by Sara Biren, which was released on April 4, 2017. This book was provided for review by Amulet Books, but as always this review will be completely honest & spoiler free. I do want to issue a quick warning that this book does contain a lot of vulgar language (which means a lot of cussing) as well as depictions of alcoholism so if this is something you are sensitive or triggered by please consider this before reading this book. Ok now let’s get to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘The Last Thing You Said’ is a story told in the dual perespectives of Lucy & Ben. Both are dealing with the loss of Trixie, Lucy’s childhood best friend & Ben’s sister, who died in an accident 1 year earlier. As the story continues we find that Ben & Lucy are no longer friends even though they once had romantic feelings for each other. Lucy spends her days hanging out with her new friend Hannah, working, & avoiding Ben at all costs. While Ben spends his time with his girlfriend Dana, working, & attempting to drink his guilt over Trixie’s death away. However once the summer begins, the two teens are forced to come to terms with the affect Trixie’s death has had on their individual families, if they can ever be friends again (or something more) again & what their futures hold without the glue that once held them together.
Now I do want to begin by saying that I would definitely give this novel a 4 out of 5 smiley face rating. It had an interesting plot that definitely will keep you entertained, & the author was able to create very interesting characters that you find yourself invested in. I will say that I personally didn’t like the relationship between Lucy & Ben, but at the same time I could understand why did both did the things they did throughout the course of the story. If you’re looking for a story with an interesting romance & a compelling plot, then this is definitely a story that you need to check out.
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we`re going to review a new YA dystopian book called ‘The Similars’ by Rebecca Hanover. This book takes a very interesting look at love, science, & the age old question of where the line should be drawn between technological advancement & basic laws of humanity. Now if Rebecca’s name seems familiar to you, that may be because she did win an Emmy for ‘Best Writing’ in 2008 for her work on the daytime drama ‘Guiding Light’. This book was provided for review by Sourcebooks Fire, however as always this review will be completely honest & spoiler free. So now lets get to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘The Similars’ revolves around a futuristic United States, in which cloning has become a hot button topic. Currently cloning is considered illegal in the U.S, however everything is shaken up when 6 clones known as The Similar (who were cloned from the DNA of the children of some of the most influential people in the U.S 16 years previously) are invited to enroll at the prestigious Darkwood Academy. We follow are main character Emma as she navigates the difficult process of dealing with the fact that her best friend Oliver has recently committed divide, & the fact that he was one of the teens who has a Similar attending Darkwood. When Emma is chosen as one of 5 new select students to enter a prestigious group at the school called ‘The Ten’ (along with a few of The Similars), she embarks on journey that will reveal dark secrets about her school, friends, & ultimately herself.
I will begin by saying that I definitely give this book a 5 out of 5 smiley face rating, due to its’ great balance of dystopian tropes & interesting, well developed characters. The plot of this story is interesting from beginning to end, & will definitely leave you satisfied yet wondering what becomes of these characters & the society they live in.
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today`s `Monday Memos` we have another book review of a young adult novel you might want to add to your TBR (to be read) pile. Today`s book is ‘In The Hope of Memories` by Olivia Rivers, which was provided for review by Red Sparrow Press. As always this will be a spoiler-free review, but I will add some trigger warnings that you should be aware of before reading this book. If the following topics will trigger you then please proceed with caution: anorexia, bulimia, self-harm, school violence, death, and domestic terrorism. So now let`s get to the review! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
`In The Hope of Memories` is about a high school senior named Hope who has recently died from a heart complication. Before Hope died she set up a scavenger hunt around New York City for her friends Erik, Kali, Aiden, & Sam, in order for them to meet each other. Each character has their own history with Hope, as well as their own individual issues they are facing. Throughout the book we get to see them face their personal demons, learn about each other, & maybe even start to see themselves the way Hope saw them.
I`m going to start by saying this is definitely a 5 smiley face book. It had an intriguing plot, interesting characters, & twists that will definitely keep you interested. Another thing that I really loved about this book was the various ethnic, gender, and sexual diversity that we see throughout this book. I enjoyed the fact that this book had a large amount of diversity, but it was weaved into the novel in an organic way that really added to the characters. Lastly, I absolutely loved how by the end of the book, you feel as if you know Hope even though she is already dead at the start of the book. The author does an incredible job of using the various characters` relationship with Hope, as well as her scavenger hunt to make us completely fall in love with the character. If your looking for a beautifully written, incredibly touching book to read this fall, then ‘In The Hope of Memories’ should top your list!
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we have a review of the novel ‘Silence Interrupted’ by Sania Shaikh, which was released on November 14th, 2016, & was provided for review by Lanier Press. Now I do want to issue a trigger warning for the following topics: suicide, cutting, Depression, alcoholism, spousal/child abuse, profanity, slut shaming, & homophobic slurs, so if any of these topics are triggering to you this is probably not the book for you. I can honestly say I have a lot to say about this one so let’s jump into the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Silence Interrupted’ is a young adult novel about a group of four friends in their senior year of high school named: Troye, Adelaide, Arabella, & Zaidan. The four form a group after Troye moves from his hometown in Florida, to Georgia. On Troye’s 1st day of school, he is quickly intrigued by Adelaide outgoing nature, & the two quickly form a strong bond. At a school event Troye meets Arabella & Zaidan (who have been a couple for several years), & the four share a year of fun, friendship, & learning how to help each other conquer their darkest inner demons.
First of all I want to start off with what I really enjoyed about this book. I really loved all the topics that were tackled throughout this novel. The topics of cutting & child/spousal abuse in regards to Troye & Arabella were particularly well developed, which made these characters more engaging. I also really enjoyed the adults in this book. I thought that the author did a really good job of making us feel love, empathy, & hate towards the various adult characters in this book, which gave them more character depth. Unfortunately where ‘Silence Interrupted’ falls a bit short in my opinion is in the pacing of the book & the use of multiple perspectives. I often felt as if I didn’t know how much time passed throughout the book, which made it hard to believe the bond between the group because in one chapter they meet & by the next they’ve known each other for some time. The book often felt like it went by to slow during some parts of the book, & then speed up to much during other parts of the book. Lastly, I often wasn’t sure whose perspective I was listening to (since we got to see all 4 perspectives throughout the book). I often had to go back to the beginning of the chapter in order to know who was telling the story, which distracted me from what was happening in the story. Because of this, my enjoyment of the book definitely suffered despite the fact that the plot was a very interesting concept. I definitely would have loved it if the author just stuck with Troye & Adelaide’s perspectives instead of using all four characters, because I think this would have helped focus the writing a bit more which would have allowed the reader to stay immersed in the plot. Due to these reasons, I do have to give this book a 1 out of 5 smiley faces.
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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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“You probably think you know who I am, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t. I used to be a bright star of a girl, but that girl burned out of existence, like a fire swept through my life and left nothing but ash and smoke.”-Mellie from ‘What They Don’t Know’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ I am very excited to bring you a book that discusses` a lot of very deep topics. Today we are reviewing the book ‘What They Don’t Know’ by Nicole Maggi, which was provided for review by Sourcebooks Fire & will be released tomorrow October 2nd, 2018. As always I will try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible however I will issue a trigger warning for the following subjects: rape, pro-life vs pro-choice debates, abortion, abuse of pills, harassment (if you are easily triggered by these topics then do not read this book). So this is definitely a book that requires A LOT of discussion so let’s get straight to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘What They Don’t Know’ revolves around two teenage girls named Mellie & Lise who live in a small, conservative town in Colorado. Although Mellie & Lise were friends as children, they have grown apart over the years but soon find themselves forever woven in each others lives. Mellie has grown up in a very strict, religious household, is a good student, & is determined to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. Unfortunately her entire world changes when she is raped at her home a few days before Christmas. Mellie soon discovers that she is pregnant & must wrestle with whether she should give the baby up for adoption or get an abortion. Feeling alone & unable to tell anyone about her assault, Mellie begins to question everything that she previously believed, & this lead her to some dark & scary places. On the other hand, Lise is a free-spirited tern who isn’t afraid to speak her mind & help anyone who needs her. This trait of helping anyone who needs it leads Lise to figure out Mellie’s secrets & stopping at nothing to help her. However, when helping Mellie risks Lise’s own secrets coming out in the open, Lise must decide if she really can help Mellie or if some places are just too dark to climb out of.
Ok I’m going to start off by saying that this is one of the most captivating books I’ve read all year. ‘What They Don’t Know’ takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, that will make you truly think about all of the topics in this story. Obviously this book is a 5 smiley face read, but I will say that you do have to be emotionally prepared when going into this one. Nicole Maggi has an incredible talent of making her truly become emotionally involved with the characters she creates. She is also able to present the topics brought up in this story in such a way that you feel as lost as Mellie regardless of your personal opinion on some of the topics. Also, I love how not every character reacts exactly the way you expect in certain situations in this book, which really gives you characters to root for. One concern that some people have had with this book is the depiction of Christian characters, however I truly disagree with this concern. Although I wish we did see more open-minded Christian characters, it’s perfectly believable to not see this due to the fact that Mellie’s parents have kept her far away from anyone who believes in things contrary to what they believe. Also, we do see that Mellie finds more open-minded Christian people towards the end of the book, which I think really helps Mellie’s growth as an individual feel more powerful, while allowing her to keep some of her religious foundation that makes her Mellie. The last thing I want to talk about is the fact that the two girls perspectives are told in journal entries, which really makes the narrative feel more personal, as if the girls are telling us this story themselves. I’m truly excited to read more from this author, & hope that everyone checks out ‘What They Don’t Know’.
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“I never meant for it to go the way it did. I swear. I just wanted to talk to someone. I didn’t mean to fall in love.”- Eric from ‘Follow Me Back’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘ Monday Memos’ we’re going to discuss a book called ‘Follow Me Back’, a psychological thriller that will definitely find a place among your TBR pile (or To Be Read for those of you who don’t speak BookTube) very soon. ‘Follow Me Back’ is the debut book from A.V. Geiger, one of the latest superstars to come out of the writing website Wattpad, and was provided for review by Sourcebooks Fire. On the outside this book seems like your typical Young Adult contemporary novel, but it quickly evolves into a story that will keep you mesmerized until the end. So now that you’re excited, let’s begin the review! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Follow Me Back’ is a dual perspective novel that tells the story of 18 year old Tessa Hart who is a super fan of musician Eric Thorne. Tessa become famous within the Eric Thorne fandom when her fanfiction ‘Eric Thorne Obsessed’ goes viral. Due to her newfound internet fame, Tessa grabs the attention of fellow super fan MET (a screen name that stands for Mrs. Eric Thorne), as well as Eric’s management team. However, Tessa is harboring a deep secret that will eventually change her life forever. We also get insight into 18 year old superstar Eric’s deep resentment of his extreme fame, due to the fact that his fans seem to be more interested in his body than his music. When Eric creates a catfish Twitter account in order to ruin his own image, he sets off a series of events that will expose the dark sides of fame & obsession.
I feel like I have to start off this section by saying that not only is this a 5 smiley face book, but it broke the smiley face scale. Luckily the last few books I’ve reviewed have been very good reads, but this is undoubtedly the best book I’ll read this year. The characters are incredibly well developed & interesting, the plot grips you from the first word & never lets you go, & the twists and turns not only make perfect sense, but actually surprise you. Lastly, I really have to commend A.V. Geiger on her talent as a writer. She is able to perfectly jump between the perspectives of Tessa & Eric, while making their characters feel distinct and interesting. She is also able to use the tool of flashbacks through police reports to help her story become even more compelling. Needless to say I am so excited to not only read the sequel to this book, but to also add A.V. Geiger to my list of auto-buy authors. I am so excited to see where her career goes, & encourage all of you to invest in this duology TODAY!
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