Book Review: What Endures by Katie Lee

What Endures

Title: What Endures
Author: Katie Lee
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult,
Publisher: self published
Publication Date: 1st August 2013
Pages: 346
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Jason Kincaid is young, hot and successful.
An All-Star outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, he finally had everything he ever wanted, including a second chance with his high school sweetheart, Megan Williams.
But their hopes for a ‘happily-ever-after’ are dashed by tragedy.
A horrific car accident wipes out most of Jason’s memories. Unable to recall anything from the last fifteen years of his life, Jason is suddenly adrift, his once charmed life now in ruins.

Megan finds herself in the untenable position of having to deal with the fact that the man she’s helping to rebuild his life may look, and even act, like her beloved fiancé, but in reality, isn’t any longer.
Trying to protect herself, as well as Jason, Megan fights the attraction between them. . .to no avail. As their potent connection inevitably draws them closer, Megan wonders,
With the memories of their relationship gone, can love endure?

My Review:

I read this book because I was told it was new adult – it isn’t. Megan may be 26 years old but she’s not at the stage in life that I associate with new adult heroines. She’s established in her career and whilst Jason may be her first true love – they’re not newly together. They’ve been married, have lived together for years and – prior to the accident – are on the way to happily ever after.

There were moments where I thought this book could somehow bring the adult characters together with their new adult selves – with flashbacks and memories of how life was like when they first got together and all the trials their relationship had to go through – but those memories were few and far between.

I like the idea behind this book. It’s very much like the movie The Vow (which I know was based on a memoir but I haven’t read it). True love derailed by amnesia. However I didn’t like the characters very much. Megan is a little too well liked but too willing to walk away from hard work. It didn’t make sense considering the back story that’s revealed throughout the novel. Jason is rather unlikable – I found nothing endearing about him in the slightest and I think therein lies my biggest problem. I need to want a couple to be together to like a romance novel. But Jason had no redeeming qualities so to be honest – I didn’t really care one way or another if they ended up together.

There are good things about this book. Tyler – one of the supporting characters – is entertaining and I’d be interesting in reading a spinoff about him and his own issues.

Overall, this book was a little predictable. The characters go around in circles and when they’re no doing that, they’re not making a lot of sense. But if you like the main characters of Megan and Jason, I can see that this would be a sweet romantic read.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

Book Review: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Two Boys Kissing

Title: Two Boys Kissing
Author: David Levithan
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, GLBT, Romance
Publisher: Text Publishing
Publication Date: August 2013
Pages: 208
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Seventeen-year-olds Craig and Harry are trying to set a new Guinness World Record for kissing.

Around them, Ryan and Avery are falling in love, Neil and Peter are falling out of love, and Cooper might be somewhere, but he is also, dangerously, nowhere.

Narrated, Greek-chorus style, by the generation of gay men lost to AIDS, this novel is a thematic companion to David Levithan’s groundbreakingBoy Meets Boy, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2013.

Two Boys Kissing is trademark Levithan: warm, sharp and real. It is also something new and completely extraordinary.

My Review:

This is the power of a kiss:
It does not have the power to kill you. But it has the power to bring you to life. 

Two Boys Kissing is the story of Harry, Craig, Ryan, Avery, Cooper, Neil and Peter. They may be teenagers from different towns and have different backgrounds but their sexuality connects them. Craig and Harry are trying to set the world record for the longest kiss to prove a point. Exes but still friends, there’s no one the other would trust more to spend thirty-two hours, twelve minutes and at least ten seconds kissing. Ryan and Avery are in the grasp of new love with all the secrets and surprises that go along with getting to know someone new. Cooper’s life is falling down around him with the line between reality and real life blurred. And Neil and Peter have been together for a year – things are no longer new but there is a lot about each other lurking behind the surface. These characters cover the entire dating spectrum and have so many differences – their familial situations, their cultural backgrounds, their relationship statuses – and yet are part of a network because of one thing. Their sexual preferences.

With the novel being narrated by a chorus of gay men who have been where the teens are now, made their mistakes and danced their dances, this book is a unique perspective into the lives of the next generation of gay men. The writing is beautiful – slightly pretentious but perfect for the setting. I loved reading this book and found quotes I wanted to remember on almost every page. I’ve been a fan of David Levithan’s books since I read Boy Meets Boy ten years ago and thought Two Boys Kissing managed to convey the same message of acceptance and sexuality despite being darker and more realistic than his novel from a decade ago.

There’s a certain cyclical nature to this book – with the harassment of people based in their sexuality spanning across the characters despite their other circumstances. But the highlight is the support that they receive – from friends, family and complete strangers who want equality. I found some of the lines to be fantastic in their hope of future equality – “Max is a marvel to us. He will never have to come out because he will never have been kept in.”

All of the action in this book happens over just a couple of days, covers seven main characters in just over two hundred pages and yet I felt close to these characters. There’s enough detail to feel like I knew these boys, had experienced their heartbreaks and knew where they were going to go in the future – and I think this can be attributed to the unique narration style. The pop culture references are artfully inserted throughout the book with enough detail to feel included (book spine poetry with books I’ve read!) yet ambiguous enough to keep from dating the novel.

The authors note at the end of the book was fascinating to read – the record Harry and Craig were attempting to break was inspired by a true story as were other facets of the novel.  I loved this book . It’s full of hope and optimism with beautiful writing whilst still not glossing over the more painful aspects in life. I definitely recommend it to readers of all ages who enjoy a good story.

Thanks to Text Publishing for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Blog Tour: What Endures by Katie Lee – with Character Spotlight!

What Endures Blog Tour Banner

what enduresWhat Endures by Katie Lee

Release Date: August 1st, 2013

Contemporary New Adult

 

Summary from Goodreads:

Jason Kincaid is young, hot and successful.

An All-Star outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, he finally had everything he ever wanted, including a second chance with his high school sweetheart, Megan Williams.

But their hopes for a ‘happily-ever-after’ are dashed by tragedy.

A horrific car accident wipes out most of Jason’s memories. Unable to recall anything from the last fifteen years of his life, Jason is suddenly adrift, his once charmed life now in ruins.

Megan finds herself in the untenable position of having to deal with the fact that the man she’s helping to rebuild his life may look, and even act, like her beloved fiancé, but in reality, isn’t any longer.

Trying to protect herself, as well as Jason, Megan fights the attraction between them. . .to no avail. As their potent connection inevitably draws them closer, Megan wonders,

With the memories of their relationship gone, can love endure?

 

Purchase the book from: Amazon

And I’m lucky enough to get to share with you a Character Spotlight! This one is for Tyler (Ty) – who just happened to be my favourite character from the novel.

WHAT ENDURES – CHARACTER SPOTLIGHT

 

Character – Tyler Adams 

Hair – Blond 

Eyes – Blue 

Occupation – Journalist 

Age – 28

Lives – Los Angeles, CA

Likes 

  • Sports
  • Writing
  • Women – maybe a little too much!
  • Gourmet food found at his mom’s store, Delights
  • Secret alley hideaway behind Delights
  • Talks with his BFF, Megan Williams
  • Playing video games with his ex-stepbrother, Jason Kincaid

Dislikes 

  • Arguing with his ex-stepbrother, Jason
  • Taking his own advice
  • People quitting when things get hard
  • Dealing with his ex-stepfather, Bruce Kincaid

 

About the Author

katie lee

Katie Lee has had a lifelong love affair with books. She fell in love with her first book in the second grade and hasn’t looked back since. She first took up writing as a hobby, wanting to craft her own magical adventures, and through the love and encouragement of family and friends, decided to get serious about writing and share her stories with the world.


She currently resides in Maryland in the United States. She works for the government during the day, and her spare time is devoted to writing. She gains inspiration from all sorts of things, but mostly from the fun and adventurous trips she takes when she can.  She loves hearing from her readers so drop her a note!

 

Author Links: 

Website|Goodreads|Twitter

 

***GIVEAWAY***

(1) $25 Amazon gift card (INT)

(2) Signed print copies of What Endures (US only)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

2013 Debut Authors Bash: Q&A with Liz Fichera!

Hooked (Hooked, #1)

US Cover of Hooked

Today I’m delighted to a part of the 2013 Debut Authors Bash hosted by YA Reads. I’m very excited to introduce you all to Liz Fichera – the author of Hooked (click to read my review). If you’ve not heard of Hooked, it’s the story of Fred Oday – a young Native American girl who loves to play golf. When the coach of the school team sees how talented she is he recruits her for the all male school team – only her new team mates aren’t too happy about it. Fred has to deal with social and racial injustices as well as sexism within a sport she loves to play.

Great characters, interesting relationships and enough drama and romance to keep things interesting – I loved Hooked and because of this I so excited that Liz generously gave up some of her time to answer some of my questions on my blog today!

Q&A with Liz Fichera, author of Hooked!

Hi Liz, I loved reading Hooked and am delighted that I have the opportunity to ask you some questions.

Thanks so much, Kate! I’m very honored to answer them.

· What inspired you to write Hooked?

True story. I was coming back from a desert hike near my home in Phoenix, Arizona, which is in the southwestern part of the United States. I was driving down a long stretch of mostly deserted road called Pecos Road. The Gila River Indian Community stretches south of Pecos Road as far as you can see. Anyway, for some reason I got this image of a young Native American girl in my head and she was waving a golf club at me. Fortunately I did not swerve off the road. But I went home and started to create this story.

· Fred is an American Indian who lives on a reservation. Is cultural diversity important for you in your writing?

Yes. That said, it doesn’t seem natural to me to not include a Native American character in a story set in the American Southwest. Native American culture is important to this part of the world. In my state of Arizona alone, there are over twenty tribes. It bothers me that there aren’t more Native American characters in young adult literature.

Hooked

Australian cover of Hooked

· Golf is an important part of Fred’s life. Is sport something that you’re passionate about?

I do enjoy the sport, although I am dangerous at best at it. Golf is a popular sport in the American Southwest too. In Phoenix, there’s a golf course on practically every street corner (perhaps a slight exaggeration, but not by much). I had a lot of help writing the golf parts, making sure that the technical aspects were correct. My father loved the sport and taught me a lot. My sister, husband, and brother-in-law all play and are much more skilled at it than I am.

· Fred and Ryan as such different people! Did you find it hard to switch between their point of views and which POV did you find harder to write?

I loved writing both POVs for different reasons. Fred’s life experiences were very different from my own. It was intriguing to me to get inside her head. Fortunately I had a number of Native American beta readers who helped me to understand her. With Ryan, it’s always fun to get inside a teen boy’s head and try to think how he thinks and understand the decisions he would make. Teen boys fascinate me.

· Are there any similarities between you and Fred?

While her life experiences may have been different than mine, I completely understood her shyness and determination. I was very shy and (mostly) quiet in high school but people should not mistake shyness for weakness, especially when it comes to Fred. She will surprise when you least expect it.

· Hooked was your first YA novel but you’ve published a couple of adult romance novels previously. Was it difficult for you to switch from writing adult novels to writing for a young adult audience?

My first published novel, CAPTIVE SPIRIT, was written as a YA, interestingly. The protagonists are sixteen years old. However, since it is historical fiction, the publisher Carina Press was able to market it as women’s commercial fiction. My second novel, CRAVING PERFECT, had a twenty-something protagonist and could now probably be considered New Adult before New Adult became The Next Big Shiny Thing. My writing voice is very comfortable in the young adult genre so making the switch was not difficult.

· Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you have other dream careers in mind?

I’ve known since I was ten years old that I wanted to write stories. Unfortunately life kind of got in the way for a while but I never lost sight of the dream or desire.

· I loved the photos you had on your blog of the spaces different authors write in (click here to see Liz’s blog post on writing places) . Apart from where you write, do you have any other writing rituals?

Thank you so much, Kate! Glad you enjoyed them. I write every day, usually in the afternoons and into the evenings. However, when I’m deep in a story, it can go pretty much 24/7 where I’ll lose all sense of time and other normal things, like eating and combing my hair. J I’m also an avid hiker, so I like to hike in the mornings (before it gets too hot) and think about what I want to write about that day.

Fountain Hills, Arizona is just one of the places Liz enjoys writing.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Hiking, reading, spending time with my husband.

· What books do you think have influenced your life the most?

There have been so many. I probably read 2-3 books each week, mostly YA. I love contemporary realistic YA and wish there was more of it. As a kid, I devoured all of the Little House books as well as The Boxcar Children series. I’m pretty sure I checked those books out of my school library a thousand times.

· What are you currently reading?

I just finished Bennett Madison’s SEPTEMBER GIRLS which was quite edgy. I’m currently reading GONE GIRL, a thriller, which is usually not my cup of tea. However, I am unable to put it down!

· Are you working on anything now?

I’m always working on a story. Right now, I’m working on two more YA contemporary stories.

· Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

I’ve been overwhelmed by the support of readers from all over the world. It’s always quite amazing to hear how a story can touch people. Words truly can’t express how grateful I am when someone takes the time to read my book.

Thanks so much for your time! I can’t wait to read Played (Riley and Sam’s story) when it’s released next year!

Thank you so much, Kate! I loved your questions and thank you so very much for your support and love of books.

I hope you all enjoyed having Liz stop by as much as I did! I have to admit – after reading Hooked and liking the characters and story so much – I was a little star struck. Thanks again Liz for stopping by!

 ***About Liz Fichera ***

 I’m an American author living in the American Southwest by way of Chicago.  Born and raised in Park Ridge, Illinois, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, after college, never expecting to live more than one year among cactus and people who’d never seen snow. I was wrong.  It certainly didn’t hurt that I met my future husband in Phoenix too.

Most of my stories are set in the American Southwest because I think the desert is a cool place.  Living in Phoenix, I’m surrounded by Native American culture and influences, not to mention intriguing Hohokam petroglyphs and centuries-old canals.  There are over 20 tribes in Arizona and I’m lucky to be neighbors to the Gila River and the Salt River Indian Communities.
When I’m not busy writing my next novel, I like to travel, visit museums, support local theater productions, hike, and pretend that I’m training for a triathlon.  I post a lot of photos from my desert and mountain hikes on my Facebook and Twitter pages.  In no particular order, I’ve been chased by javalinas, rattlesnakes, coyotes, and even one curious black bear.  Would love to connect with you there too!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d love to see as a movie/TV show

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Books I’d love to see as a Movie or TV series

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins [my review]- it’s adorable and I feel like I haven’t seen a good romantic comedy in ages. This would definitely fix that.

The Mediator series by Meg Cabot – I’ve loved this series since I was a teenager. I’d love to see Suze come to life on screen.

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole [my review] – Is it bad if my prime motivation for wanting this one on screen is because I adore Cajun accents?

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith [my review] – it’s short and fun. Would work perfectly as a film.

Mythos Academy by Jennifer Estep [my review] – TV show with Gwen kicking butt and fighting all those glorious mythological creatures with her Spartan Man by her side!

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1) Shadowland (The Mediator, #1) Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, #1)

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen [my review]- she feels to me like her movies would be funnier versions of Nicholas Sparks movies… Sweet, heartbreaking but a bit more humour in there. They did make a Sarah Dessen movie featuring Mandy Moore but I think they can do better. They mashed up two of her books and smuched it into the one movie…. leaving out the best parts of both. That said – I still have that movie on DVD 😛

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas  [my review]- The ultimate fantasy show. It would be watched by everyone! I also think that Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes would be great as a TV show.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer [my review]- I think I’d like this one as a movie. But Futuristic Cyborg Cinderella would be so much fun to see

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor [my review]I think the story is beautiful and the creatures creative. I just want more and a movie would be perfect!

AND whilst I know this is not a YA series, I’d also love to see Richelle Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series as a TV series.

 The Moon and More Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1) Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1) Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid, #1)

That’s my top ten. I found it rather hard to pick ones that haven’t already been made into a movie/tv show or have one in the works. What books would you like to see come alive on-screen?

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Book Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)

Title: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)
Author: Sarah J Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: August 2013
Pages: 432
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien is bold, daring and beautiful – the perfect seductress and the greatest assassin her world has ever known. But though she won the King’s contest and became his champion, Celaena has been granted neither her liberty nor the freedom to follow her heart. The slavery of the suffocating salt mines of Endovier that scarred her past is nothing compared to a life bound to her darkest enemy, a king whose rule is so dark and evil it is near impossible to defy. Celaena faces a choice that is tearing her heart to pieces: kill in cold blood for a man she hates, or risk sentencing those she loves to death. Celaena must decide what she will fight for: survival, love or the future of a kingdom. Because an assassin cannot have it all . . . And trying to may just destroy her.

My Review:

Not a book for the faint hearted – Celaena presents the king with a severed head in a bag within the first few pages – Crown of Midnight is a fantastic continuation of the story which started in Throne of Glass. Celaena has four years to earn her freedom from the ruthless King of Adarlan. But it’s not going to be an easy task. Ominous shadows, spies,  wyrdmarks and other magical threats haunt the castle. Celaena has to navigate cautiously into the outlawed realm of magic to save other kingdoms from Adarlan’s power-hungry King whilst appearing to do his bidding.

I love the characters in this book. Celaena is every bit the cold-hearted blade for hire when necessary. But she’s also fiercely loyal to those she loves. Romantically, things develop at a great pace and I loved reading the softer side of Celaena in love. Prince Dorian is also a character in turmoil – with his body betraying him and the things that he’s known all his life changing before his eyes. This wasn’t something I was expecting but enjoyed reading it. Chaol, Nehemia and other favourites from Throne of Glass are still around making things interesting along with a host of new characters with their own agendas.

There’s never a boring moment in this novel. Awakening magic, Celaena’s job as an assassin, political threats and other tragedies keep the plot moving at a fast pace, There’s a lot of twist and turns that I wasn’t expecting but fit perfectly. Heart break and misfortune seem to follow these characters however they seem stronger for it.

I loved this series and recommend it to fantasy fans – young and older adults alike. There’s a lot going on and I think Maas’ writing style would appeal to all ages. I’m delighted that this series is going to have five books in total because after reading Crown of Midnight I can’t see myself wanting to leave Celaena and the world Maas has created anytime soon.

Thanks to the Reading Room for providing me with a copy for review. 

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Literary-ly Inspired: Lola’s create your own pavlova + Piece of Cake by Kate Forster

When I saw that strawberries and blueberries were on special at the grocery store the other day, I got an overwhelming urge to make my own Lola style pavlova from Kate Forster’s Piece of Cake. 

There’d also be a classic pavlova with a selection of toppings for the customers to create their own perfect desserts.

“They’ll get little bowls of crumbled peppermint crisp, summer berries, passionfruit pulp, little chocolate chips – milk, white and dark – and then, finally, salted toffee shards.”

 

I think the beauty with this dessert is that it’s as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. I choose to buy everything pre-made. The supermarket was out of merengue nests so I just bought mini meringues and put a handful in each bowl.

My initial ingredients:

I had:

  • Mini meringues
  • apple
  • bananas
  • kiwi fruit
  • passionfruit
  • Peppermint crisp bars
  • lemon curd (which I didn’t end up using)
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • chocolate (which I didn’t end up using either)
  • whipped cream (that I also didn’t end up using)

I chopped all the fruit and put in the meringue and peppermint crisp (which I’ve never had before but are very tasty) and thought it was sweet enough. I think that’s one of the benefits of getting to pick and choose what you want. I love pavlova type desserts with bananas in them. And the apple was my own addition cause I had some in the kitchen.

Ta-dah! My Lola inspired dessert.

It wasn’t until I was washing up after dinner that I realized that I forgot to include the salted caramel shards that I made (using this recipe). But I think that just gives me an excuse to make this again 😀

It may not be as pretty as a Lola creation but I like to think she’d be proud of me 😛