Trailer Tuesday: Pawn by Aimee Carter

So, I don’t know if this a thing or not already, but its something I want to do on my blog. Each Tuesday, I want to share a different book trailer with you guys. A surprising number of books get trailers, and I’m always interested to see what the trailer adds to make me want to read a book. I’ve definitely been swayed to read a book based on its trailer.

To kick things off, I’m going to share the book trailer for Pawn by Aimée Carter, as that’s a book I recently just read and reviewed. This trailer doesn’t really add more to the synopsis, but I like that it introduces the society of the world Kitty lives in. I really love the graphic at the end that reveals the book introduction, I think that’s very cool.

This is a trailer I didn’t see before I read the book, but I feel like if I had seen it, I would have picked up Pawn earlier.

What do you think of this trailer?

Undeadly by Michele Vail

Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries, #1)Undeadly
Michele Vail
Harlequin Teen
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Series: The Reaper Diaries #1
ISBN: 9780373210466
Websites:
Rating: 3 Stars
This book has been sitting on my TBR list since its release way back in 2012. It was one of those books I wanted to read if I got the chance. Well, I finally got the chance.
My feeling on this book are a bit mixed. I really liked some aspects of it, but others, not so much.  I read this book in one sitting, but there were times when I wanted to put it down. However, I knew if I put this book down, I most likely wouldn’t be picking it up. I was hoping this book would be similar to the Mythos Academy book series or the Covenant series, but it was a bit different than that. I think I might have just been expecting more from this book than it was able to deliver.
I’ll start with what I did like. I really liked the main character, Molly. Michele Vail did a fantastic job writing a character who jumps off the page. Molly voice was one I really liked; she actually sounded like a 16 year old girl. Through her entries in her reaper diaries, you really got to see that Molly was sarcastic and sassy, but also tough and caring. Molly loves her family, despite what she finds out about herself. I was glad that the story was told from Molly’s point of view because she had enough attitude to carry the story. If she wasn’t so strong of a character, I probably would have put this book down and not looked back. 
I really loved the idea of this book. Greek gods and goddesses have been the focus of a lot of retelling recently. It was refreshing to have book focused on the Egypt gods. Personally, I love Egyptian mythology, and was glad to see this book had a focus on Anubis. It is also a zombie book, but not in the way you would expect. Zombies are common place in this world, and they don’t want to eat your brains. Ghosts and spirits also are abound in this book. But with the focus on Anubis, God of the Afterlife, that is almost to be expected.

However, there were also things I didn’t like. I felt like most of the secondary characters, with the exception of Molly’s family, were very bland. They lacked depth and were forgettable. I can’t even remember the names of her friends at Nekyia; they ended up blending into the background. And then there is Rick and Rath. I found nothing interesting in either of them. I know that Rath is supposed to be the hot reaper tutor, but I felt like I knew nothing about him. He was just there to serve as love interest. The romance was stale and felt not existent, both with Rick and Rath. Molly’s feelings for Rath came out of no where, and that annoyed me. I really wished that the secondary characters had more substance to them. 
The pacing of this book was a bit off. I was interested in the plot, but things would happen too fast and without a lot of explanation. I would have to accept some plot points without really understanding them. Other parts of the novel dragged, or just didn’t fit with what previously happened. It was a struggle to continue reading when the pacing was all over the place. 
While Undeadly did not meet my expectations, I enjoyed most of it. Molly was a great character who was able to make me laugh and sympathize with her. I definitely want to see what happens next, especially with an ending that is a cliffhanger. The concept of this book was very intriguing, but failed to deliver at sometimes. Despite the issues I had, I do plan on continuing this series to see where Michele Vail takes us. 

Pawn by Aimee Carter

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1)

Pawn

Aimee Carter
Harlequin Teen
November 26, 2013
Series or Standalone: The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
ISBN: 0373210558
Pages: 343 
Websites:
Rating: 4 Stars 
From the description of this book, I felt like I wasn’t really going to like it. I put off reading it for a long time, as I was worried it just wouldn’t hold my interest. There is a lot of dystopian in the YA market now a days, and some of it just doesn’t click. However, Pawn clicked for me. 
Aimee Carter did an excellent job establishing the world of Pawn. As it is a dystopian, it takes place in a futuristic United States, one that is a distorted version of our current country. The world building did not drag the beginning of the book down like it does in other books of this genre. The world was fully developed, and I found even a scarily possible future for the United States. Each person in society is assigned a number based on how they score on their test; this number determines a persons future. Kitty scores a III, a lower number than expected, which threatens her entire future plans. When faced with the chance to escape from the ranks of the III and be elevated to a VII, the highest rank in the country, Kitty jumps at the opportunity without understanding the consequences.
The main character, Kitty is forced to become Lila Hart after her death. Little does Kitty realize that becoming Lila, becoming a VII, does not make life easier. The Hart family, the leaders of the United States, are a very screwed up family. Corruption, lies, rebellions and secrets are abound, and Kitty is thrust into the middle of a power struggle. Little does Kitty know just how important she is to the Harts as Lila. This screwed up family and political atmosphere had me hooked. I needed to see how all the pieces were going to fall and wanted all the lies unraveled. 
I really enjoyed that throughout the book, Kitty stayed true to herself despite being forced to assume the identity of someone else. While Kitty could have accepted the fact that her life was no longer her own, but instead she stayed true to who she was. Her determination and strength shone through her new exterior as Lila. Kitty could have been followed the instructions given to her by Daxton, Celia, or Augusta, but instead she took charge; she refused to become a pawn to either side. While her life was no longer her own, she still found ways to make decisions for herself despite her circumstances. She made me root for her. I had a few issues with the characterizations of some secondary characters, but I will be interested to see how all the characters develop and grow as the series continues. The romance in the book also felt a bit stale to me, probably because I did not have any connection to Benjy, a character I wished was a bit more fleshed out. 
Pawn was fast paced, filled with twist and turns. The web of lies and deceptions is a messy one, but one that I wanted to get untangled, and Aimee Carter does a good job with revealing the truth throughout the book. The ending was heart-pounding, leaving Kitty in an even more precarious position than I thought possible. I cannot wait to see what other secrets will be revealed in the coming books. Thoroughly engaging and engrossing, with lies and secrets galore, Pawn is a great start to a new series. I look forward to seeing what Aimee Carter plans to do with the rest of the series. 

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry + Q&A + Giveaway!

Pushing the Limits

Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 9780373210497
Pages: 384
Websites:

Rating: 4 Stars

“My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has…welll…issues.  How do you think I am doing?”  – opening line of Pushing the Limits

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that  horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude   and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. Echo and Noah couldn’t be more different, but they find themselves united by a common goal: to sneak into their court- ordered social worker’s case files in order to learn the truth about themselves and their families. What they didn’t count on is falling in love — and now Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.


Oh god, this book. This book gave me all the FEELS. I knew this book would be dealing with some serious stuff but I didn’t expect to feel such a wide range of emotions. I laughed, I bawled my eyes out, and even got angry. So many feelings that I wasn’t expecting.

Pushing the Limits was so much more than a romance story. While the romance was smoking hot, I have to say I enjoy learning more about Noah and Echo as characters and seeing them overcome their struggles more than the romance. Both Echo and Noah are very trouble characters and have dark secrets they have kept buried inside. Katie McGarry was not afraid of tackling the nitty gritty and serious issues, which I really liked. She was able to capture the emotional struggles Echo and Noah were facing so well that I was in tears for these poor, poor characters.

Normally I am not a fan of alternating points of view, one of the characters always seem to come off as weaker or it just does nothing for the plot, but in the case of Pushing the Limits the alternating point of view worked perfectly. I loved getting into both Echo and Noah’s head. The writing helped create these characters who you come to care about and get emotionally attached to. Katie McGarry wrote these fabulous characters and as a reader you were truly was able to get into each of their heads. When a chapter ended and switched characters it didn’t feel awkward, the story flowed and it didn’t feel like head jumping (thankfully!).

Now Noah and Echo, man, I just wanted to give them a hug. And boy, do they need one. Noah is the boy everyone warns their daughters against, but he’s so much more. While he has the tough, bad boy exterior, Noah is one of the most caring, motivated, strong teenagers I’ve seen. Despite all the struggles he’s had to face, like losing his parents and growing up in foster care, he’s extremely dedicated to his two brothers who have been separated from him. Noah’s devotion to his younger brothers, oh god. It was the sweetest thing. The scenes with Noah and his brothers made me tear up so much, I’m not afraid to say it. He loves them so much and will do anything for them. Noah gives everything to those he loves and will do anything to protect those he loves, such an admirable trait. I loved that aspect of his personality so much. I loved how he grew as a character over book. 

And then there is Echo. That poor poor girl. She definitely has it rough. Her father is overprotective and overbearing, she is not allowed to see her mother because of an event Echo cannot remember but left her with horrible scars over her arms. Despite everything, Echo still wants to remember the horrible event that almost killed her and still cares for her mother. Her struggle to learn the truth about that night was hard to read. All she wanted was to know. When she finally learns the truth, I was in tears with her. Like Noah, she grew so much over the story. She was willing to come to terms with what happen and open up to those around her, thanks to Noah. While they might be the two messed up character ever, they were so adorable and perfect together.

The romance in this book was electric. Noah and Echo’s chemistry jumped off the page and you couldn’t help but want them to be together. They needed to be together for each other. But the romance did not define this book. Yes, it might be how they market it, what with the cover and all but it was so much more. The emotional struggles in the book are what really made me love it. The romance was a nice bonus.

If you read one book this year, it definitely should be Pushing the Limits. Its such a great read that captivates you with its amazing characters and draws you in with their struggles. I’m super excited to see what Katie McGarry writes next because she has me next. A companion book staring a secondary character for this book is being published so I’m super excited for that! Hands down, Pushing the Limitis a must read.

P.S. I think these lines from the Broadway show Next to Normal define what Noah and Echo both are ultimately working toward in their struggles: “I don’t need a life that’s normal—/ That’s way too far away, / But something…next to normal / Would be okay. / Yeah, something next to normal— /That’s the thing I’d like to try. /Close enough to normal / To get by…”


Q & A with Author Katie McGarry


Q: What was your inspiration for writing Pushing the Limits?
A: I had two main inspirations: One, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write a story in which my characters felt strong enough to leave their pasts behind and create new futures for themselves. The first scene I ever saw in my mind was Echo and Noah leaving town after graduation. Two, I wanted to write two characters who were facing over- whelming issues and who, through battling these issues, found hope at the end of their journey.

Q: How did you come up with Echo’s name?
A: Echo went through several name changes as I wrote the manuscript. For a while, she had a very normal name, but it always felt off. It wasn’t until I looked at Echo from her mother’s point of view that I found her name. Echo’s mother loved Greek mythology so it made perfect sense that she would name her children after the myths. I read several Greek myths and the moment I found Echo’s,  I fell in love. Echo,  to me, was the girl who lost her voice. Thankfully, she finds it by the end.

Q: Which character is the most “like” you?
A: All of them. I gave each character a piece of me (though some have larger slices of me than others). Overall, I’d say I’m a strange combination of Echo, Lila and Beth. Echo has my need to please, Lila has my unfailing loyalty to my friends and Beth encompasses my insecurities.

Q: Did you experience friendships with Grace types when you were in high school?
A: Yes. And the more people have read this story, the more this question comes up. Grace has struck a stronger nerve in people than I ever would have imagined. It seems most of us have un-fortunately experienced a relationship where a person wants to “like” you and wants “be your friend,” but only if it serves their needs. In case anyone is wondering, that isn’t friendship.

Q: Are there any parts of the story you feel particularly close to?
A: Yes. The relationship between Noah, Isaiah and Beth. Beyond my parents and sister, my nearest family members were over fourteen hours away. My friends became my family. The peopleI grew up with were more than people I watched movies with or talked to occasionally on the phone. These were people with whom I shared life’s most devastating moments, but also my hardest laughs. These were people who I would have willing- ly died for and I know they would have done the same for me. They shared my triumphs with smiles on their faces and con- gratulatory hugs. They held me when I cried and offered to beat up whoever hurt my feelings. These were also the same people who were more than happy to get in my face if they thought I was making a wrong decision.

Q: Did anything that happens to Echo happen to you?
A: Sort of. I was bitten by a dog when I was in second grade and repressed the memory. It felt very strange to have no memory of an incident that other people knew about. It was even strang- er to have injuries and not have an inkling where they came from. In college, I finally remembered the incident when a dog lunged at me. I relived the horrible event and sort of “woke up” a few minutes later to find myself surrounded by people I loved. Even though I “remember” the incident, I still don’t remember the whole thing. I only see still frames in my mind and there is no blood in any of the memories.

Check out the book trailer!


About author Katie McGarry:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and she remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. Katie loves to visit schools and talk to teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach.



Giveaway Information

I’m giving away one copy of Pushing the Limits. Information about the giveaway is listed below. US and Canada only.
  • Fill out the form below completely!
  • Open to US and Canada ONLY
  • Must be 13 years or older to enter. If under 13, parental consent is required. 
  • One entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted.
  • Ends September 5, 2012