Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review of DARE YOU TO by Katie McGarry

This is a book I've been dying to get my hands on from the second I finished PUSHING THE LIMITS (which was one of my favorite reads last year). Sometimes when I anticipate a book this much, it can't live up to all the hype. Yeah. Not the case with DARE YOU TO! I loved it just as much as the first book.

Summary from Goodreads:
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

There’s so much to love about this book. I loved Beth, with her dyed black hair and no-b.s. attitude. Her hard life has made her both street-wise and world-weary, but that doesn’t mean that that she can’t be so much more if she just lets herself. Then there’s Ryan, seemingly Beth’s opposite with his jock status and boy-next-door good lucks. Watching the sparks fly between them as they go round after round was so much fun. This is just a fabulous opposites-attract story where the person you can’t imagine falling for might just become the one person you can’t live without.

Make sure to pick this one up when it hits shelves next month, May 28th!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

YA Scavenger Hunt!

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours.

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the RED TEAM--but there is also a blue team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the red team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!).

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by August 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

I am hosting the fabulous Aprilynne Pike for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
Critically acclaimed, #1 New York Times best-selling author Aprilynne Pike has been spinning tales since she was a child with a hyper-active imagination. At the age of twenty she received her BA in Creative Writing from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. When not writing, Aprilynne can usually be found out running; she also enjoys singing, acting, reading, and working with pregnant moms as a childbirth educator and doula. Aprilynne lives in Arizona with her husband and four kids; she is enjoying the sunshine.

About Life After Theft:

Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto. No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so--in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history--he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.

It sounds amazing! I loved her Wings series, can't wait to get my hands on this one!
Go preorder Life After Theft Today!

And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Aprilynne Pike, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 10. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the red team and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

Also, while you're here don't forget to enter the bonus contest for a signed ARC of SHUTDOWN along with a signed copy of Override. I am running exclusively during the YA Scavenger Hunt. Click here to go to my Rafflecopter giveaway on Facebook!

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! Click here!

A Question About Faith, and then an Answer

I wonder, now that I am feeling better, if faith is easier when I am sick. When I was so ill, I was constantly reminded of my need and there were few other distractions from lying quiet with God.

I’m not dumb like when I was younger to pray that God make me sick or bring hard times if it will make my faith stronger. We used to toss around so cavalierly prayers like ‘break me, God!’ Instead I pray that somehow God teach me faith through wellness. I pray he teach me faith through gentle and good and happy days. Sure the Israelites were always at their most earnest when they were being oppressed, but please God, can there be a faith that blossoms too in prosperity and joy? I would like for that season to stay awhile.

Then really, I wonder again if prayers matter at all, if they change anything. Good and bad times will come on me either way, no matter what I pray. And even if tomorrow manages to be a happy one where I remember God all through the hours, it doesn’t mean hard times will disappear. They’ll come back, the unfortunate side effect of being human. Old age at least will make sure of it, and probably a thousand other beat-downs from life before then.

Instead, I should remember my Buddhism. Tomorrow might be good or it might be bad. It does not matter if I want it one way or the other. In fact, the wanting might just make me miserable in the here and now.

But still, my initial worry is this: I don’t want to be faithless in the good times. I forget so easily. I’m like the Israelites Moses led out of Egypt, seeing all those signs and wonders, and then a few weeks later complaining that all I have to eat is the same old boring bread and for God’s sake could we just get some quail up in here?! I can still do so little, but I fill my time and energy and mind with all the things I’ve been wanting to do to the exclusion of all else. I forget God for half a day at a time, a day, two days, and do not think once of prayer. I worry it will stretch to weeks and then months.

I wonder, what does God want from me? What does being faithful mean? Is ‘pray without ceasing’ literal? Is it humanly possible? Because I want to count the day as pass or fail.

Oh Heather, silly girl, listen again to the wise men. That is all to do with ‘me’. My twisty squirrel mind obsessing about this ‘self.’ The Buddhists say to live now in this moment, and God too says do not worry about tomorrow. My worry over my future faithlessness seems valid to me, but maybe all it does is separate me from God now.

God here right now fulfilling his promise that he is with me. Here on these couch cushions that are bent around my shape, the low vibration of trucks on the highway below, the ache of my bruised tired eyes, the empty sensation in my stomach, the biting of the underwire in my bra, this moment in the dark, typing with my eyes closed, the gentle tension of fingers pressing memorized laptop keys, the moment of pausing with each of my senses and wondering what else there is to discover here while simultaneously mediating the moment through words. And smiling at myself, because right now the two are so close, which is rare, that my mediating the moment is still actually the moment.

And here I stop and pause, because for a moment I’ve managed to catch the hummingbird answer and hold it still. Now. Here. Being still. With God. It’s everything. It’s all that matters.