10 Things You Should NEVER Say To A Bookworm

So quite a while back now I had a rather unpleasant encounter with one of my teachers at my old school… Quite ironically, the little witch (that word would usually start with a different letter) taught me English… And although I usually respect my elders, and of course teachers belong to that ‘category’ – she evokes a feeling of hatred and apathy for all things English related when I see her wonderfully sickening bright green coat appear on the horizon (although this year the coat seemed to have been replaced with a slightly toned down grey one – my eyes are thankful for whatever happened for her to make that change).

During a meeting of this particularly rude individual with my father and I, she seemed it was entirely appropriate to say that I am by far too studious, and reading (and blogging) is not a hobby I should not be doing as it “is not relaxing and you should think about doing sports such as tennis or swimming”.

i beg your pardon julie andrews

I couldn’t help it, I got defensive and proceeded to tell her that blogging and reading are perfectly good hobbies which are more beneficial, and potentially life-saving (seeing as I have yet to master the art of swimming) than her choices off pastime whilst making a mental note to ignore her future “advice”.

But the moment I got back home, I was somewhat inspired So I guess sometimes good things do come out of awful situations, go figure.


So here are 10 things you shouldn’t say to a bookworm based on my own experience…

10. “Ew, you read? Isn’t that like, boring?” 

Yes, yes, I do – and your invalid opinion will do nothing to change that. Also, since when is visiting other countries or maybe even dimensions boring?

09. “Don’t you have enough books? No more books for you.” 

If you try to stop me from placing 12 new books on my TBR…. well, good luck to you my friend because you’re in for a quest and a bit… it’s not going to be a fun one either. Please just don’t try, for your own good and my sanity.

08. “What’s your favourite book?”

You mean my favourite 20? You do not understand I cannot pick just one. That’s almost like  much worse than picking a favourite child. I can give you maybe a top 3-5 from each genre? That will have to suffice. Buckle up, we’re gonna be here for a long while.

07. “Oh that title, I watched the film instead/ prefered the film…”

Whilst you get a bit of credit in my eyes if this particular title is one of my favourites it is unlikely that I am going to applaud you for not realising that the book is most probably much, much better. Or that a book existed to begin with. Or denying the fact that the book might be better because films tend to miss out the best bits and generally don’t tend to convey everything the book does in a satisfying way? (Honestly directors and casting crew, I beg you… get your crap together – I’d much rather watch a perfect adaptation after waiting a long time for it, even if it meant sitting in the cinema for a solid four hours and paying an exorbitant amount, that’s the sacrifice I’d be willing to make to watch my favourite titles come to life before me.)

06.

this is so long, i decline to read it.gif

I mean yes, we all get intimidated by big books sometimes. But that sort of reaction? Nu uh. We see a big book, we conquer it and move onto the next one – it’s like a mountain you see, you don’t just plonk your ass down half way and be done with it. You climb that mountain to the bloody peak and take in the view (even though in the bookworm’s case the view is the TBR pile which has slowly taken over all the floor room in every room of the house…)

05. “Wait… wait, you skipped that party on Friday to read?”

You mean you skipped reading time to get wasted and have a hangover the next day? Yeah… not my idea of fun. Thanks but no thanks, you’re dismissed.

04. “I prefer *insert book format here*”

Well isn’t that great, now consider this: I read all of them…. I know, I know. A wild concept that may be. But ebooks are great to take everywhere with me on a daily basis, my Kindle is my child and I actually cried real tears when my old Kindle broke. Paperbacks, well I have so many of them it seems like I like them, they smell good and are generally an alright substitute for the kings of the book formats (or at least in my opinion) the HARDBACKS. If I could afford it (but then who can when they’re broke and going to stay that way for the foreseeable future given the fact that they’re departing into studentland in the next two years) I would have an entire library full of just hardbacks. But we can’t always have what we want, so we make do. Now shh and consider the fact that not everyone is you.

03. “I want you to read *insert title here* chapters 1-whatever for homework, due next week”

DON’T. Please I beg you, don’t torture me so. School has ruined so many books for me like that, starting with The Woman In Black and ending with Tuck Everlasting and Private Peaceful from good ol’ Year 7 Reading Lists – this is the primary reason I dropped English when going to study A-Levels… other than the fact that it’d be useless in the areas I want to go into in the future.

02. “Uhm…I don’t know where the book you let me borrow is / I’m sorry, it’s a bit ripped/stained/bent/crinkled.”

Honestly at this point just keep it, unless it has been ruined by the tears of baby Jesus and the blood of a pegasus (yes, both are required) just don’t bother returning it. Also, do not expect me to let you borrow another book ever again, not after I misplaced my trust in your abilities to not ruin them – especially if this is one of my signed editions. When I let you borrow a book – just know that this is probably one of the utmost levels of trust I could give you, don’t make me regret it.

01. “IT’S JUST A BOOK”

Yeah, no. That’s where you’re wrong my friend. books are adventure.gif

And no, I will not stop crying, or smiling like a slightly crazed mental asylum inhabitant from the 1800s whilst reading. That’s how I tell the good books from the great books, okay? You’re going to have to accept that. And book hangovers are a thing too, let me experience them.


So this post was a result of a slightly annoyed me, but it also allowed me to vent my anger and channel it into my reading/bookworm pet peeves so that was actually quite nice of it.

Do you have any bookish pet peeves or have you been on the receiving end of any of those phrases? How do you deal with annoying people who don’t understand your love for reading? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

The NetGalley Book Tag

Hello, hello – I think it’s time to take a wee break from reviews so here’s something a little different – even though it may be a tadddd late from the original creation of the tag.

I was (slightly indirectly, but tagged nonetheless) tagged by Kayla @Kdrewthebookworm so a big thanks for that, I do like these questions. And this tag is the original property of Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads  -make sure to check out both their blogs if you get the chance!


The rules:

  • Link back to the tag’s creator (Kourtni Reads)
  • Thank and link back to the person who tagged you
  • Answer the questions the best you can. If you don’t use NetGalley, you can substitute other sites or places where you get books!
  • Tag a few people to do this too

 Autoapproved: Who’s one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they’re about?

From my all-time, long-running favourites most probably Jennifer L. Armentrout, although I will also read anything that Pierce Brown writes and honestly cannot wait until the release of their next books.

Request: What makes you want to request a book that you see on Netgalley?

I’mma say something that will probably hurt a lot of bookworms out there – I judge books by covers and titles… if a book doesn’t have an impressive title and an even worse cover, chances are I will not pay it attention. So I do have to agree with Kayla on this one. These are necessities for me to actually notice a book in the first place. Of course, I will then read the synopsis to see whether it sounds like something I might like to read… but the preliminary actions sort of take priority here.

Oh, I might also check if it is something written by an author I loved previous works of, of course – that tends to be the case more often than not nowadays.

Feedback Ratio: Do you review every book you read? If not, how do you decide what books to review?

I definitely do try to review everything that I am given the opportunity to on NetGalley, but unfortunately, sometimes some reviews tend to end up a lot shorter than others mainly because I may not have been able to get into the book enough to be able to form any more solid thoughts. I also, for the most part, review everything on my blog as well (or at least the longer, better reviews that is). However, my actual feedback ratio has only just hit 53% because I made the mistake of requesting too much when I first signed up to NetGalley – so a little tip to anyone starting out… don’t do this, you’ll most probably lose interest in a lot of the titles before you actually get the chance to read them. 

Badges: If you could create your own badge to display on your blog, what would it be for?

Um… ummm….. Can I get an effort badge? Like an A++ for effort sort of thing? That’d be quite nice.

There_was_an_attempt.png

(this question is actually horrible to answer)

Wish For It: What’s one book that you are absolutely dying to read?

iron gold cover

I need it, and I need it now… Right now – take my soul and I’ll bake you cookies on top of that.

 2017 Netgalley Challenge: What was the last book that you received as an ARC that you reviewed? If you’ve never received an ARC, what’s the last book you reviewed?

The newest ARC that I reviewed was definitely A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard, but the latest ARC review that I wrote was A Summer Like No Other by Elodie Nowodazkij because I am backlisting reviews back to like 2015 … because y’know, mistakes were made at the beginning and now I have to fix them.


I tag:

Anyone who wants to do this tag, because I know I’m quite late to the party and a lot of people have already done it – so if you do feel like doing it feel free to say that I tagged you!

ARC Review: Rikki – Abigail Strom

Synopsis: rikki-cover

Ever since junior high and an ill-fated game of seven minutes in heaven, Rikki Eisendrath and Sam Payne have hated each others’ guts. But when they end up at the same college—and the same dorm—they figure it’s time to declare a truce.

They even become friends . . . sort of. But when Sam asks Rikki to model for his sculpting project, they start spending more time together—and her feelings for him get more complicated.

She tries to focus on the guy she’s been crushing on instead. But Sam’s the one she can’t stop thinking about, even though their arguments are starting to heat up as much as the chemistry between them.

With antagonism and attraction this intense, there’s bound to be an explosion. But when the dust settles, will Sam and Rikki be enemies, friends . . . or something more?


I received a free e-edition of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a pleasantly light read, which was definitely helped by its short length. At just over 200 pages, this book was barely over the length of a novella. And yet it contained enough storyline development to appease me which was good to see  – although some things would have definitelly benefitted from more development, I can’t really complain as the majority was developed to a good standard. I also really liked Strom’s writing style, it gave the story the kick it needed at points and definitely was a big bonus of the book.

There were concepts in the story that didn’t sit quite right with me – for one, a person basically a year older than me admitted to sleeping with over 20 individuals… and NO-ONE was even the slightest bit concerned? This is freshman/ first year of university we are talking about, these people are barely adults – when or how have they found the time to do that?? Unless of course they were partial to one night stands, and even then… why did no one question that?

The heroine bugged me at times, but the hero was quite a pleasant addition to the story and made it all the more bearable.

This book was actually quite innocent as far as New Adult novels go, there was the right balance of angst and romance (which was gloriously slow burning unlike many other books of this genre, it was given plenty of page time to develop which made it all the more realistic and pleasing) which created the basis of a good story.

The story did fall apart at one point, when Sam decided to do something that really didn’t seem to fit in his character’s description but Strom managed to pull it back together enough for me to want to pick it back up after throwing it into the corner of despair and shame after a certain event happened.

Whilst I hadn’t really found many bad things in this book, it was much alike to other books in the NA genre and maybe that was where the majority of my problem lay, I feel like I have burned out reading this particular genre and would benefit from a break from it in order to provide more objective reviews.

Overall, I think that the book set up hope for the rest of the series and I will probably look into reading its successors to see whether the story develops complexity wise as more characters are introduced.

My Rating: 2.5 /5 Stars

Book Review: Imperfect Love -Isabella White

Synopsis:imperfect-love-cover

At 24 years old, Holly Scallanger has the perfect life. Everything a girl could want; a beautiful man, a stunning home, as well as being in the midst of preparing for the wedding of her dreams. This all vanishes the night she catches her fiancé, Brandon Morgan, in bed with her worst nightmare, Donna Sinclair, just a week before Holly is set to walk down the aisle.

Attempting to recover from his betrayal, Holly swears off the affections of men in order to pick up the pieces of her crumbling life. Unfortunately, meeting Jake ‘Hooligan’ Peters is not part of her plan. The tall, dark-haired and handsome as hell med student, sweeps Holly away from the pain of her past and reveals to her the bright future that lays ahead. That is until she falls pregnant just as Jake begins his internship at P&E; his family’s hospital.

Will this love at first sight  lead her to the fairytale she has always craved? Or, will she fall victim to a betrayal of the heart yet again?


I received an e-copy of this book courtesy of Fire Quill Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The beginning of this book almost made me DNF, it dragged so so much due to Holly’s breakup and her inability to get over it, although I can’t really blame her for that – the circumstances in which that happened really weren’t great… but they did nothing to move the plot of the book along at a good enough speed for me to remain focused and willing to read.

I should have seen it coming, should have… It says right there in the synopsis – “love at first sight” – my number one foe. And okay, I didn’t actually mind how quickly their relationship came to be; that seemed quite realistic given Holly’s state and their general chemistry. What bugged me was the idea of how quickly it progressed until they were what seemed to be irrevocably in love with each other – that didn’t seem natural in the slightest.

I liked some of the supporting characters – Bernie being a particular favourite due to her sense of humour and supportive nature. That woman was an angel to Holly and honestly deserved the very best for that. However, some of the other characters didn’t sit right with me, Jake’s mum, Mara being the prime example. She was to put it gently – a bitch… And alright, I understand that as a mother her number one duty is to act in her child’s best interest – but when the child is in their mid/late 20s… you sort of expect them to be allowed to make their own decisions sans parental control. Yeah, no. Mara was overly protective which ended up being incredibly damaging at certain points of the story but I shall leave the details of those fiascos for you to discover.

One thing that I can really commend White for keeping is the plot. So many romance novels lose any ideations of plot and all things plot related when the MC falls in love. But this book managed to avoid that to a pleasant degree – there was still a story being told, even though it did involve a lot of romance.

However that being said, it did follow a lot of contemporary romance tropes and didn’t really offer much when it came to originality; but I guess that isn’t really a thing I can blame a book that follows its genre for doing so it may just be me seeking a romance that offers something new.

Another thing I (surprisingly) liked was the ending, it was emotional and despite myself I did end up attached to the characters enough to cry which is saying something seeing as it has become considerably harder for me to cry at works of fiction in recent days.

Overall, I’d definitely say that this was a decent book and I will be looking to read the sequel to see where the story progresses.

My Rating: 2.75/5 Stars

Book Review: Radio Silence – Alice Oseman

Synopsis:radio-silence-cover

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.


I received an e-copy of this book courtesy of HarperCollins UK, Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

So finally,  it has come.

The review of my favourite book of last year and my favourite read for a very, very long time. Why it has taken me so long to review it, I don’t really have an answer to that; I could only suggest the fact that this book was such an incredible masterpiece that has stayed seared in my brain for so long after reading it that I could not even begin to fathom words that would do it justice. And I still cannot, but this post is going to be a crude attempt at doing so.

let-me-list-my-feels

And feels there were. I am pretty sure I actually cried for a good portion of the story, but with good cause.

Oseman crafted such realistic, diverse and relatable characters it really didn’t take long for me to become attached to them with no way of turning back. And I loved every single one of them.

Frances was a brilliant protagonist (and it was also great to see that she, unlike many other YA protagonists out there had a very supportive, unicorn-onesie-wearing mother in her life to care for her), I think she portrayed the struggles of teenagers in Britain’s sixth forms remarkably well. I mean, with the first-hand experience of how attending one of said institutions feels like – I can definitely confirm that a good percentage of the ‘smart’ individuals definitely have multiple crises a week…

Which in turn leads me to my next point. I honestly feel like thanking Oseman for her realistic take on the British (and probably global) education system. It was not sugar-coated in the slightest – there was failure, it was also shown how easy it is to be deemed a failure; especially by relatives when following a path in life that they do not quite approve of or not wanting to follow a path that they do… This book also dealt with the pressures put on students by the schools themselves, which of course do not help at all when trying to deal with the whole ‘life’ thing whilst being told that it “only gets worse in the real world” whereas, in all fairness, the hardest years will probably be over once school and university for those who want to attend it are over and done with.

Back to the characters, their relationship was so bloody refreshing. A book based solely on the ideas of friendship is rare, especially where there is potential for some romantic chemistry to occur. I mean Frances was bisexual and Aled identified as asexual, so there was basically no reason for them not to get together other than the fact that their relationship was entirely platonic. THANK YOU SO MUCH BOOK GODS FOR FINALLY ANSWERING MY PRAYERS FOR AN AUTHOR WHO FINALLY UNDERSTANDS THAT TWO TEENAGERS OF OPPOSITE SEX CAN BE FRIENDS WITHOUT WANTING TO GET INTO EACH OTHER’s PANTS AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER.

Their friendship was honestly flawlessly written, whilst still possessing flaws – there were fights and disagreements but it was clear that there was a lot of platonic love between them, and paired with understanding and a general love of similar things – they made a wonderful pair.

This book was definitely not an easy read, with the aforementioned reflections on the education system – but also with the general works of being a teenager and trying to find yourself whilst simultaneously losing yourself in the process whilst trying to overcome all the other hardships that life will throw in your way such as familial issues, and general not knowing what to do which comes quite often as a teenager in present-day society which inadvertently pressurises us to get our metaphorical shit together and adult slightly before we are actually ready to in a lot of cases. I mean – deciding what I want to do with my life at 16? No thanks… I’d much rather not, but unfortunately, there is just no escaping it.

I loved every single thing about this book, down to the way in which it was written, the style was easy to read and made the 470 page book shrink down into one sitting of just over an hour and a bit…. The transcripts were a brilliant addition, and I honestly felt as though I could hear Aled speaking when reading them. The concept of Universe City was truly brilliant (have I used the word brilliant enough in this post??) and whilst it definitely made me cry towards the end, I appreciated the messages which it carried.

Also, may we talk about how bloody realistic and relatable this book generally was? Oseman honestly did a brilliant job, and I think that is partly due to her age – there were honestly so many points during the novel at which I simply felt like saying “same” or “that’s me and so and so” and I honestly don’t think enough books have gotten that sort of reaction out of me, so huge HUGE kudos to the brilliant author.

One thing that actually had me bouncing with excitement was the fact that this book was actually set in my home town’s surrounding area. The descriptions of the highstreet and its cobblestone streets rang a bell whilst reading, but it didn’t fully click why it was a little bit too familiar until I found out Oseman’s origins. This in turn left me a wee bit inspired and with hope that I too may be able to create similar wonderful things with my writing if I stick with it… so I guess this is a huge personal thank you for her from me too.

I could easily continue, but I feel as though it would be boring and many of the next points would be bordering on spoilery, so I am going to end my review here. I hope that many of you who read it will choose to embark on the journey that this book provides, because it truly is an extraordinary one that I will likely never forget.

My Rating: More than 5 / 5 Stars

“And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo’, but I appreciate the sentiment.”

Book Review: Carry On – Rainbow Rowell

Synopsis:carry-on-cover

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.


I receieved a free e-edition of this novel courtesy of Pan Macmillan via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I did NOT expect to love this as much as I did.

It was a perfect mixture of magic (and boy, was there a lot of magic, there were spells for anything and everything, some of which seemingly a lot more useful than others – there were definitely a few I wouldn’t mind having at my own disposal), humour, snark and Harry Potter vibes (which were admittedly fanfic level at the start of the novel, but it worked in favour of this particular novel)- oh, and THE OTP. I shipped the ship even before it sailed. So, so, so much. It is definitely now one of my favourites to ever set sail.

However, the beginning was a bit slow, and it was largely an info dump which made me enjoy the story a bit less than I would have. Oh… and Agatha… yeah – she posed a few problems as well, I outright despised her and groaned internally whenever she appeared throughout the story…

The book was narrated by so many characters, but somehow I managed to deal with that for the entirety of its length – and it was a lengthy length but after the beginning third or quarter or so whilst we were exposed to Simon’s relationships with everyone in the book, and the entire backstory, the pace picked up to a bearable speed and before long I was so absorbed in the story I didn’t really register the length of what I was reading at all!

The characters in this book… were goshdarn brilliant! Apart from the aforementioned Agatha. I honestly loved everyone else – and their interactions. I definitely thought friendship was a key theme of this book and played a huge part throughout. I really liked Penelope’s characters, she was like the Hermione of the group – but personally, better? I don’t know how that is possible, but I do know that I preferred her that way.

I loved the fact that the romance didn’t overpower the entire plot, it was also a very tasteful mix of teenage angst and tangible love. The balance was struck between the love and hate of Baz and Simon. Baz was also such an interesting character by himself, definitely complimenting Simon’s slightly more mopey and dependent side which really did balance out the story a lot more.

Rowell has a writing style that is incredibly hard to dislike, it is so easy to read and engages with you. More often than not I laughed throughout -there were so many deviations from the norm of fantasy novels, and from Harry Potter on which the book was based. It was truly an original take on fanfics.

I was sceptical of this book at first, but I am so glad that I have – and I can definitely say that I will be returning to it in the future.

My Rating: Solidest of 4/5 Stars

“You have to pretend you get an endgame. You have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can’t carry on at all.”

Chapter Reveal + Giveaway: Long Way Home – Katie McGarry

longwayhome-chapterrevealbanner

 

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 the first chapter below and be sure to pre-order your copy for the amazing bonus scenes! (and scroll down for the giveaway)


 

CHAPTER ONE:

Chevy

 

The instructions of the English homework I didn’t do hang out from the top of my folder: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both.

Story of my life.

According to my football coach, I chose wrongly on the two crap paths I had to face last week. I just ran into Coach on the way to English, and he ripped into me for my sorry decision-making skills when it came to me choosing to stand up for the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club instead of a member of my football team.

I didn’t just get my ass chewed out, his tirade made me late for English with no tardy note. Which is great since my English teacher hates late students like I hate riding my motorcycle in forty degree weather while it rains.

I round the corner, then peek through the small window on the door of my class. Ms. Whitlock stands in front of her desk in her patented white button-down shirt, gray pencil skirt and dark-rimmed glasses. From the back row, my best friend, Razor, meets my eyes and shakes his head. Damn. That means she’s in one of her moods where she’s refusing to let anyone in.

I’m not a tail-tucked-between-my-legs type of guy, but this lady is one of the few who can reduce me to begging. If she doesn’t let me in, then she’ll mark me as absent, the front office will think I skipped, and that means I won’t be able to play at tonight’s football game.

The window rattles when I knock. The entire class turns their heads in my direction, but Ms. Whitlock doesn’t. The muscles in my neck tighten. She is one of the hardest core people I know and my grandfather is the president of a motorcycle club. That says something.

She starts for the whiteboard and I knock on the door again. This time, Ms. Whitlock does look my way and she grants me the type of glare reserved for people who kick puppies. I got it. I’m late. I’m the scum of humanity, so let my ass in so I can play football.

There’s this guy in my club, Pigpen. He’s about the same age as Ms. Whitlock, late twenties, and he’s a walking hard-on for this woman even though she would never give him the time of day. He practically runs into walls when she’s around because he’s too focused on checking her out. I don’t see gorgeous—all I see is seriously pissed off and the person standing between me and playing.

Ms. Whitlock points at the clock over her desk. She’s telling me I can wait. If I’m lucky, she’ll open the door after the quiz that I’ll receive a zero on. If I’m not so lucky, she won’t open the door at all.

Two pathetic paths and I could only travel one. Nowhere in that stupid poem did it mention there was good and bad to both paths and that sometimes it’s best not to choose, but to set up camp at the fork and do nothing at all.

I slam my hand into the nearest locker, almost relishing the sting.

“Feel better?”

A glance across the hallway and I freeze. Doesn’t matter how many times I see her in a day, she still manages to take my breath away. Violet leans against the lockers as beautiful as ever. Red silky hair flowing over her shoulders, a pair of ripped jeans that look like they were tailored for her curves and enough bracelets around her wrists that they clank together when she moves.

Do I feel better? Not really, but I nod anyway as I try to judge if being alone with Violet causes more pain than having my balls ripped off. “Didn’t hurt.”

“Yes, I can see how slamming your hand against a locker didn’t hurt at all.”

My lips tilt up because she got me, and on top of that, Violet made a joke. Since she broke up with me last spring, things between us have been tense. On her side and on mine. Some people, like me and Violet, aren’t supposed to break up. Some people, like me and Violet, don’t know how to be near each other when we do part ways. “Are we talking now?”

“I’m locked out of class. You’re locked out of class. I could ignore you if that’s what you want.”

It’s not. Her ignoring me is never what I wanted. “Why are you late?”

Violet presses her lips together and looks away. A sixth sense within me stirs.Something’s wrong. I’ve known her my entire life. We were born only a few weeks apart and we learned to crawl on the sticky floor of the Reign of Terror clubhouse. We were friends, always friends, until one day, we weren’t just friends anymore. We became more until we lost it all.

“Late’s not your thing,” I say. Violet’s unconventional. Marches to her own drummer, but she’s not the type to be late to class. It’s a respect thing for her, something her dad taught her and Violet may never listen to another living soul, but she listened to her father. “What’s going on?”

She’s silent and frustration rumbles through me. Violet used to tell me everything. Used to see me as someone who could help solve her problems. She doesn’t see me like that anymore and it pisses me off. I’m angry at her for making us this way. Angry at myself for not figuring out how to fix us.

“You being late wouldn’t have anything to do with Stone, would it?” Stone’s her brother and the question’s a shot in the dark, but I don’t want to miss the chance to keep conversation with her going.

“Why are you late?” she replies as a nonanswer and my head snaps up. Guess sometimes blind shots do hit their mark. Violet was late because of Stone.

“What happened?” I push.

“I’m not talking about it.”

“Vi—”

She cuts me off. “I told you how to help me and my brother six months ago and you told me no.”

By running away? No again to that insane solution.

“Tell me why you’re late,” she says. “If you don’t, then you need to stop talking, because the last thing either of us needs right now beyond missing a quiz or possibly being marked as absent is detention for getting into a shouting match. At least it’s the last thing I need, okay?”

I back up to the lockers across from her and lightly hit my head against the metal. Yeah, I don’t want to talk about why I’m late either. I shove a hand into my pocket and try to think of a change in subject. Telling Violet I’m late because my football coach tore into me for hitting a guy who was causing problems for the Terror, a guy who had been causing problems for her, won’t help me and Violet stay civil. She’s mad at the club, which makes her mad at me.

Violet’s watching me, and her expression is a lot like someone trying to figure out a word problem for math. Unfortunately, she knows me as well as I know her.

“Being late is going to cost you, isn’t it?” she asks. “You can’t play tonight if she marks you absent, can you?”

I meet her blue eyes, and my chest hurts at the sympathy I find there. I’d willingly miss tonight’s game if I could rewind back to a time where I could talk to Violet with ease and that’s not the type of trade I’d normally make.

Football is my life. So is the motorcycle club. The Reign of Terror are my family—the blood kind and the bonds of brotherhood kind. I don’t know who I am without the Terror, but to be honest, I don’t know who I am without football either.

Lately, I’ve been torn between the two, just like that poem, and everyone in my life has chosen a side. Violet used to be the person I could talk to, but then she walked.

Six months ago, Violet asked me to run away with her.She was driven by grief, driven by something she wouldn’t tell me about. When I told her no, that we needed to stay home, to be near our family, to be near the club, Violet returned the next night and announced I was choosing the club over her and that we were done.

Being a running back, I’ve taken more than my fair share of hits over the years, but I’ve never been as blindsided as I was that night. Never experienced the type of pain her leaving me created.

The door to the classroom opens and a sense of relief washes over me. I’ll have to bust my ass to bring up my grade thanks to that zero on the quiz, but at least I’ll be able to play tonight.

Ms. Whitlock steps out and sizes me up, then Violet. “I’m only letting you in if you have a note, otherwise you can head to the office and hope they give you one.”

Screw me. There’s no way I’ll make it to the office, get a note and return in time. Right as I’m about to kick the hell out of the locker, Violet glides past me and hands in her note. “This is Chevy’s.”

My head whips in her direction. “It’s what?”

“Yours.” Violet meets my eyes. “Thanks for offering it to me, but it’s not right for me to take it. I’m the one who didn’t have a note, and I’m the one who needs to make it right.”

She begins walking backward, and my short-circuited brain sparks back to life. I can’t let her do this. “Violet—”

“Have a good game tonight,” she says, then disappears down the stairs.

“Are you joining us, Mr. McKinley, or not?” Ms. Whitlock demands. Never met a person I hate as much as this lady and it takes everything I have to force one foot in front of the other.

Everyone watches me as I stalk down the aisle then drop into the last seat in the row, the one next to Razor. He’s calm, cool, blond hair, blue eyes, and he’s watching me like an owl who’s considering whether it wants that unsuspecting mouse for a snack now or later.

Ms. Whitlock is lost in her own world as she continues babbling about poem interpretations and people who died too long ago. I can do little more than open my folder and stare at the top of my homework.

“Chevy,” Razor whispers, and I glance over at him. He points to the paper on his desk and in his messy handwriting is You okay?

Yes, because I get to play football tonight. No, because Violet sacrificed herself for it to happen. Hell no, because the world’s messed up and I don’t know how to fix it. Worse no, because I don’t know if I should read more into what Violet did—if it means somewhere deep inside she still thinks we have a chance.

I shake my head, Razor nods and the two of us stare at the whiteboard. Two roads. One path. Can’t take both. The guy who wrote it acts like the choice should be easy. It’s not. And he also didn’t mention what happens when people like Violet shove you onto a path regardless of your thoughts.

“So how many of you liked the poem?” Ms. Whitlock asks.

The entire class raises their hands. Almost everyone, except for me and Razor.


 

And don’t miss the next chapters of LONG WAY HOME!
January 12: YA Books Central
January 13: Vilma’s Book Blog


 

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LONG WAY HOME Synopsis:

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:

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“An intoxicating and unforgettable story that kept me glued to the page.”

Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on Walk the Edge


 

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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 https://wyng.com/campaign/820152.

 

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katie-mcgarry-author-picKatie 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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