Monday, January 30, 2012

REVIEW: NEW GIRL by Paige Harbison

Synopsis (Marketing copy from Netgalley):
A contemporary young-adult retelling inspired by the classic 1938 romantic suspense bestseller Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
They call me 'New Girl'...
Ever since I arrived at exclusive, prestigious Manderly Academy, that’s who I am. New girl. Unknown. But not unnoticed—because of her.
Becca Normandy—that’s the name on everyone’s lips. The girl whose picture I see everywhere. The girl I can’t compare to. I mean, her going missing is the only reason a spot opened up for me at the academy. And everyone stares at me like it’s my fault.
Except for Max Holloway—the boy whose name shouldn’t be spoken. At least, not by me. Everyone thinks of him as Becca’s boyfriend…but she’s gone, and here I am, replacing her. I wish it were that easy. Sometimes, when I think of Max, I can imagine how Becca’s life was so much better than mine could ever be.
And maybe she’s still out there, waiting to take it back.

Product Details:
Title- New Girl
Author- Paige Harbison
Format- E-galley
Publisher- Harlequin
Imprint- HarlequinTEEN
Release date- January 31, 2012
Source- Netgalley (for review)

New Girl captured my attention from the very first page. A haunting mystery centered on a very unhappy girl trying so desperately to be someone else that it swallows her whole and the strong new girl who fights the tide of obsession to stay true to herself. Everyone at Manderly Academy is obsessed Becca Normandy, a legend at Manderly. The mystery behind her disappearance floats around every corner, and Callie is just trying to stay afloat amidst the idolization of a girl who isn’t even there. The author did an amazing job making Callie disappear herself. What I mean is I couldn’t have told her name until the very end of the book. She literally became “new girl” in the story. The entire story she is fighting for her identity, to be known as more than “new girl.” And the story chronicles her life in the shadow of the infamous Becca. I really enjoyed the way the book alternated between Callie’s first person POV and Becca’s third person POV. I could actually visualize how Callie’s year at Manderly followed in Becca’s footsteps. This created and built upon the eeriness of the situation and really developed an interesting atmosphere that kept me hooked to every word. The characters and their flaws were realistic and believable and even heartbreaking at times. The author made me care about each of them. I expected Becca to pop up everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. Overall, definitely a success, and I would certainly read it again! Pick this one up quick, you won’t be sorry.
Buy links:
Amazon paperback
Amazon E-book
Barnes and Noble paperback/Nook book

Connect with the Author:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

All Things Scottish Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the ALL THINGS SCOTTISH GIVEAWAY HOP hosted by Karen at For What It's Worth in honor of Burns Day/Night. So . . . . .

You may be thinking, "What the heck is Burns Night?" Well, Burns Night is Scotland's yearly celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns. You know... Auld Lang Syne?!
Yea, that's this guy              >

Now you are probably thinking, "Why are we celebrating a Scottish event?" Well, you probably (read should)  know that Kim and I are HUGE fans of Jeri Smith-Ready's Shade series (read the 5 star review by Kim). Part of being a HUGE fan of Shade is absolutely adoring the fabulous Zachary, who happens to be, you guessed it, SCOTTISH! Now, you don't have to be a TeamKilter or even know what Shade is, although you are REALLY missing out if you haven't read it (and we TOTALLY recommend you add it to your TBR list). In the words of Jeri herself, " Everyone is invited! ... EV. REE. WUN." And we've decided to celebrate Burns Day Team Kilt style! of fun activities and giveaways!

So, wanna get in on all the fun?! Join Jeri Smith-Ready, along with participating blogs in a day long celebration over at Jeri's blog and the Kilt and Keeley Fansite. There are are Twitter chats, blog hops, and ... wait for it ... GIVEAWAYS! You could even win an ARC of Shine (which are an endangered species)!

So, that brings me back to what this post is all about. Yes, it's about the Burns Night celebration, but it's also about what we LOVE about Scotland! Besides the fact that Zachary is a Scottish product of course. (but lets face it, that is a GREAT BIG HUMONGOUS part of it!) ;) That being said, lets move on. And stay tuned, cause ya know, this is a GIVEAWAY hop!

So, one of my favorite things about Scotland is...

My family! Surprise, I'm Scottish! Well, technically I'm Scot-Irish, but we will address the "Irish" part when we celebrate St. Patrick's Day. My maiden name is "McEachern" pronounced MAC ATH RIN (at least that's how we American McEachern's pronounce it). I can't roll my Rs like a real Scotsman though. Anyway, I thought I'd share my family crest with you guys. I won't bore you with what it all means. I just think it's kinda pretty.
And here's a pic of my mom and dad when they visited Scotland with my grandparents a few (ahem 10, that's a *few* right) years ago.

Ok, moving on. Me and Kimberly's next favorite thing about Scotland is. . .
Come on, how can you NOT like that! Isn't it beautiful! And wait, is that Zachary in the window... oh wait, no ... that's just our overactive imaginations running away with us.

Next up, the dancing!

Which brings us to our FAVORITE thing from Scotland: THE MUSIC! And Zachary of course. But the two will come together shortly.

Who doesn't love some good bagpipes! My dad actually learned to play them too! He's not very good (don't tell him I said that), but they are REALLY difficult to play.

So finally, our absolute, without-a-doubt Scottish favorite is . . .

FRIGHTENED RABBIT is a Scottish Indie band from Glasgow. And Zach likes them too! So, we decided, why not giveaway a copy of their newest CD:

The Winter of Mixed Drinks

Truly, the perfect combination of our Scottish loves: Music & Zachary! What's not to love! If you haven't heard of them, check the band out at the Frightened Rabbit website and enter below for your chance to win. But that's not all! Our winner also gets an entry into Jeri's contest for the Shine ARC! So get entered, spread the word, and celebrate BURNS NIGHT!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Synopsis (from Goodreads):
When Your Life Is Not Your Own
Martyr---otherwise known as Jason 3:3---is one of hundreds of clones kept in a remote facility called Jason Farms. Told that he has been created to save humanity, Martyr has just one wish before he is scheduled to 'expire' in less than a month. To see the sky.
Abby Goyer may have just moved to Alaska, but she has a feeling something strange is going on at the farm where her father works. But even this smart, confident girl could never have imagined what lies beneath a simple barn. Or what would happen when a mysterious boy shows up at her door, asking about the stars.
As the reality of the Jason Experiment comes to light, Martyr is caught between two futures---the one for which he was produced and the one Abby believes God created him to have. Time is running out, and Martyr must decide if a life with Abby is worth leaving everything he's ever known.
Product Details:
Title: Replication: The Jason Experiment
Author: Jill Williamson
Format- E-galley
Publisher- Zondervan
Release date- January 01, 2012
Source- Publisher via Netgalley

Human cloning. It’s a fascinating subject to me, and Replication fascinated me from the very first page. Scientific research always sparks controversy, and cloning is an EXTRA controversial topic; so when I heard about Replication I was curious. I wondered how cloning would be approached for a YA audience. What better way than to have hundreds of teenage boy clones hidden in a secret Alaskan lab? Martyr’s voice captivated me. The author did a fantastic job of developing a character who had never seen the outside world. When Martyr narrated and spoke, I really believed his innocence. I believed him when he called a cat “dog” and a moose “horse,” because of his limited education. I sympathized with him. He was real to me. I love characters that really come alive, and Martyr is now one of my favorites. On the other side of the story, Abby narrates from her POV. She’s a fierce protector, which I love in female characters. And her dedication to helping those around her is admirable.
One of my favorite things about the story is that is doesn’t shy away from the religious aspect of the controversy. In fact, it’s a central aspect of the book. I love that! I don’t think the topic of human cloning, even if it is in a fictional story, can be addressed without looking at both the general ethics and the religious aspect.
Overall, it was a great story, and I really enjoyed it.

Buy links (from author's website):
Amazon Kindle book
Amazon hardcover
Barnes & Noble Nook book
Barnes & Noble hardcover

Connect with the Author:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Something Special... to me

(To skip my blab, scroll down to the verse story, bolded in lavender ;)

I love making new friends. Love it as much as reading. Friends are important to have in life, whether they are physical or cyber. I quickly developed a friendship with the fabulous and entertaining Melissa “Missy” or “Lavender Girl” Mitchell through twitter (#TeamKilt). You can follow her on twitter under the alias’ of @xolavendergirl and @3fixedhearts and stalk/join her blog at

Purpose Kim, purpose. So, the reason for this post is I had the opportunity to read Missy’s manuscript of her current work in progress, Lavender Boys. It was a refreshing story and different from what I normally read. It had a great story line and a load of emotion in it. It was real. It was sad. It was fun. I laughed. I got excited. I cried- tears of joy, tears of sadness. Some parts made me mad and I kicked my husband in the shin --> kidding. To find out more about Lavender Boys, click on the link above to Missy’s blog. Be on the look out for this soon-to-be published author.

ANYWAYS, get to the purpose Kim! I fell in love with one of Missy’s character’s. ADAM. Oh ADAM. I professed my love to Missy sooo much about him, that she wrote me a verse story and she… and she made me one of the character’s- SQUUUUUEEEE! I’ve posted it in the past, but it was incomplete. Here is the finished version. The title of it is Letting Go. And it’s amazing and I. CAN’T. STOP. READING. IT. It makes me smile so big… like off the chart BIG! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Enough of my blab… READ ON!!

Letting Go by Melissa Mitchell

I like girls.
But I also like football.
And tacos.
And a lot of other things.
So that’s not saying much.

That is what’s weird.
About last night.
The girl.
She sat over there.
At that other table.
Me, DeShawn and Beckett sat here.
Eating more than you would ever guess.
Because we are teenage boys.
And we just finished football practice.

The girl’s tray was empty.
Yes, I noticed.
She looked at me.
Three times. Our eyes met.
God, she was cute.
Not from Lake.
A different school for sure.

Opportunity missed.

Mason’s party.
Insane as usual.
Brynna McKay.
My best friend. All my life.
The girl of my dreams.
There she is.
Kissing the boy of her dreams. Beckett.
Where’s the keg?
Drown in my sorrow.
Pump, pump, pump.
More beer.
Because red plastic cup is empty.

Can you fill mine? A girl says.
I look up? Same eyes.
Eyes so dark I could get lost. Dark blue like deep ocean water.
Empty tray girl.
God, even cuter close up.
Hey, it’s you, I say.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

I am me, she says.
She is funny.
No, it’s you from Lou’s – the hamburger place.
Wednesday night. Right? I ask.
I hope.
Her cheeks warm.
Thoughts run through my mind as I look her up and down.
Kim, she says.
Her cup. Under the spigot.
Adam, I say.
Empty cup fills.
Empty heart fills. A little.
Brynna who?

Hours pass.
She sits next to me.
Shoulders touch now.
Fingers brush.
Smiles exchanged.
She flirts. I reciprocate.
Her eyes look left.
My eyes look right.

Time to go.
She stands. Curfew.
I stand.
Across the room.
Brynna’s smile.
Brynna’s laugh.
Our past.
My heart.

In front of me.
Kim’s eyes.
Kim’s smile.
My hand brushes her arm.
Her hand touches mine.
I feel it. Everywhere.
Her fingers clasp mine.
She bites her lip.
My shoes kick into each other.

My hand pulls hers towards the door.
Outside, she points to her car.
Her friends giggle and follow.
She gives them a look.
It says wait over there.
And they do.
Stop at her car.
She opens my hand.
Places paper in my hand.
Closes my hand.

Her eyes.
Careful. Excited. Nervous?
No…Excited. Yes.
Look down. Then up. Then past.
Across the parking lot.
Beckett’s car.
In front of me - beautiful thoughtful blue eyes.
New eyes. Fresh eyes.
Eyes with history – her history.
Unknown history.
To be explored kind of history.

She talks.
I listen.
But look past her.
I’ve never kissed Brynna.
Brynna has beautiful lips.
I have longed to kiss Brynna’s lips.
I will never kiss Brynna’s lips.

Eyes back down on her lips.
Kim’s lips. Her tongue slides across them.
Don’t you agree? She asks.
Huh? I don’t know. I didn’t listen.
Don’t answer.

Hands reach up. Cup her face.
Hear her breath.
She draws it in.
Ready. Anticipation.
She’s not Brynna.
Head please stop.
Heart please stop.

Kensington! Stop. Look at her.
Kim looks at me. Eyes soften.
Her hands move around my waist.
She feels good.
On her tiptoes now.

Do it. Now.
Lean down. Closer. Closer. Closer.
Eyes close. Lips brush. Once. Twice. Soft. Feathers.
Pull back. Eyes open.
Her innocence – her smile.
Hi, she whispers.

Lean again. Eyes close. Lips touch.
Kiss. Good kiss.
Her arms. Pulling me closer.
Tongues dart back and forth.
Her mouth. My mouth.
Puzzle pieces. They fit.
I draw her close. We. Fit.

Let go.  
Her smile is telling.
She likes me.

…I like her.
For once.
…I like the girl.
The girl who is not Brynna.

One last kiss before goodbye.
She obliges.
Her kiss.
Familiar. Comfortable.
Like warm cocoa. On a cold Sunday morning.

Kim. Kimberly.

I like her.
Will you call me? She asks hopefully.
Yes, I answer truthfully.
Open door for her.
Help her into car.
She rolls window down.
I lean in.
A notebook sits on the passenger seat.
A notebook covered in lavender hearts.
                              Lavender. Brynna’s favorite color.
My heart jumps.
Kim’s hand touches mine.
My heart tethers.

Okay. Oh, your number? I ask.
You have it. She smiles.
The paper. From earlier.
My hand dives in my pocket .
Paper is safe.

I stand. Step away from car.
Tail lights disappear into the night.
Across parking lot,
Brynna holds Beckett’s hand.
He opens car door. She gets in.
Close eyes. Deep breath. Open eyes.
                              Watch their kiss goodbye.

Reach into pocket.
Retrieve paper.

I don’t drink coffee.
Hot chocolate?
Sunday morning?
Xo Kimberly Callegan. And her number.

Smile. Phone. Call.
Hi. Yes. Sunday morning, I say.
See you then, she says.
A date.
With a girl,
who is not Brynna.

She’s cute, I say.
My confession.
He is relieved.
Finally, he thinks.  
He is rid of me.
So, you like her? Beckett asks.

I explain.
It’s just hot chocolate.
I will pick her up.
We will share hot chocolate.
We will talk.
I will take her home.
She is not Brynna.
He notices.

So. You like her? He asks again.
Yes. I answer.
Cool, he says.

Our silence is a charade.

                              She is not Brynna.
                              He knows.

Father. Shake hands.
Mother. Shake hands.
She is not Brynna.
Look up.
She. Is. Not. Brynna.
This is good.
Beauty. In front of me.
She blushes. I wave.
Wave? Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

Open car door. Close car door.
Yes! She’s hot.
Hi, she says.
Hi, I say.
I’m glad you called, she says.
Me, too, I say.
Her smile is timid.
It is not Brynna’s smile.
But I like it.

She nods. Heater on. Car warms.
Jacket comes off.
Shirt is lavender. With sparkles.
I like your shirt. Voice cracks.
Thank you, she says.
Her favorite color.
                        Brynna’s, too.

Coffee shop. Crowd.
Carry tray.
Too many people.
No tables.
Somewhere else? I ask.
Yes, she says.
Get in car.
Drive to lakeshore. Park. Music.
Snow drifts down over lake.

Knees brush together.
Hands touch.
Eyes exchange. Unsaid words.
Move closer.
Move closer.
She is not Brynna.

My arm moves behind her.
Hand brushes her hair. Her soft hair.
Her dark, dark eyes look down.
Her dark, dark eyes look up.
I swallow.
Should I?
Too soon?
I want to.

I should go, she says.
Yes, too soon. She answered the question.
Agree. Take tray.
Open door. Find trash can.
Back in car.
It’s so cold out there, I say.
Rub hands together.
Her hands touch mine.
Look down.
Look up.

Closer. Closer. Closer.
Eyes close.
Lips touch.
Heart beats.
Lips touch.
Eyes open. Look at her. She looks at me.
We should go, I say.
We should go or I will kiss her again.
She nods. She smiles.

Begin to drive. Hold her hand.
It is not Brynna’s hand.
And that is good.

In her driveway.
Time for goodbye.
Her hand reaches for door handle.
Wait, I say.
Her hand stops.
Can we? I stop.
She looks.
I had fun, I say.
Me, too, she says.
I get out. I open her door. I take her hand.

Doorstep. She looks up.
Dark, dark blue eyes.
Profundity. Complexity.
Hands behind my head.
Hands around her waist.
She rises up.
I lean down.
Eyes close. Heart beats.
Lips touch. Once more.

I’ll say yes, she says.
My eyes question.
If you ask me again.
I laugh.
I ask.
She says yes. As promised.
My lips. Her…cheek.

Dial phone.
She answers.
She asks. How was it?
I answer. Good. Really good.
She wonders. Do you…
like her?
Do you?
Heart beats.
Heart aches.
Smile forms.
Yes, Brynna, I like her, I say.

Water runs.
Over head.
Down back.
Thoughts of her.
Thoughts of both.

People talk.
They look at me.
They expect answers.
I have none.
Who is it?
How was it?
Where did you go?
What did you do?
What’s she like?

Sugar n’ Spice. For Hot chocolate.
Then to lakeshore.
Talked. Nothing much.
                        (Not Brynna.)
Nice. Funny. Cute.

Across the table,
she sits. She stares.
Not at me.
But past me.
In my life. In my words. In my heart.
She can love.
Not I, apparently.

She isn’t happy.
Doorbell rings.
She answers door.
She returns.
Her boyfriend is here now.

Cast aside.
Just like that.
One ring of the doorbell.
One kiss they share.
I’ve been replaced.
I’ve been displaced.
Time to go.
Say the goodbyes.

Sits next to me.
In my car.
She smells like coconut.
                        Not lavender.
My hand.
Takes hers.
She smiles.

Where should we start? I ask.
The big ones, she says.

Six roller coasters.
One log ride.
Three spinning rides.
One haunted house.
Metal milk bottles. Knocked off table.
Giant stuffed panda bear prize.
One guy.
Trying to be romantic.
One very happy date.

The sun is low. The sky is pink.
What next? I ask.
She points.
She blushes.
She knows.
Ferris wheels are good for one thing.

Ferris wheel.
Hearts beat.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Eyes nervous.
We know what’s coming.
A kiss.
THE kiss.

My hands hold her face.
                        Not Brynna’s.

Lips touch.
Like wings of a butterfly.
Her hands.
Twist through my hair.
She says.
I say.
She pulls me close.
I pull her closer.
                        She is not Brynna.
                        I’m glad.

The Ferris wheel goes around.
Her head.
On my shoulder.
My arms around her.
Deep breath.
Here we go.
Brynna. Kim.
Kim. Brynna.
Double date? This is not.
It is dinner. At the house.
Beckett is happy. He sees.
Girl likes me.
He is rid of me. The sidekick.
Without lies. I feel the same.

Girls sit. Girls talk. Girls share.
Boys sit. Boys watch sports.
Look up. Kim is watching me.
I smile. Kim smiles.
                        Brynna sees it.
                        Brynna smiles.
                        Her beautiful smile.
                        The smile I love.
                        The smile I have loved.
                        For thirteen years.
                        Heart breaks. Again.

Come here, I say.
Kim moves next to me.
My arms wrap around her.
She reciprocates.
She whispers.
I laugh. I hug. I kiss.
                        Brynna watches.
                        And I know.
He watches...
                        Brynna watch.
Dinner is over.
Walk? I ask.
Yes, she says.
                        So does Brynna.
He agrees.
Outside. In the woods.
Holding Kim’s hand.
It is nice. I like it.
                        He holds Brynna’s hand.
                        I don’t like it.
Pull her aside.
Warm kisses.
Nice kisses.
Big kisses.
Kim kisses.
                        Brynna stops.
                        Because Brynna sees.
                        So I stop. Kissing.
                        Brynna runs.
So I run.
After Brynna.

Turn around.
Please. Turn. Around.
Watch HER run.
Please. Turn. A. Round.

I stop.
I don’t turn around.
Not yet.
Touches mine.
Kim’s hand is in mine.

Go to her. Talk to her. I’ll wait, she says.
I’m sorry, I say.
Don’t be, she says.
She pulls me by the hand.
Towards the house.
To talk to the other girl.
He…hasn’t moved.
Beckett. Is stunned.

I pace. Back and forth.
In her room.
Kissed her, she says.
I know, I say.
So what? I say.
But you kissed her, she says.
As if I didn’t hear her the first time.

On her face.
Because of me?

What does she want from me?
Not me.
Just me.
How do I do that?
Be hers. Without being hers.
Love her. Without loving her.

Do not hold her.
Do. Not. Hold. Her.
Arms open. Arms close.
This embrace. It is different.
It means something more.
I feel panic. In her arms.
She is grasping. Holding on.
I am letting go.
And she knows.

I can’t be that guy, I say.
And now I know, I say.

I, I say.
She looks up.
I, I say.
I, I say.

I love you, she says

I leave her. Alone in her bedroom.
Because she doesn’t love me.
And I know it.

Shut the door. Lock it.
Now breathe.
Breathe in. Breathe out.

Fairy tale ending.
Go get her. Kiss her. Love her.
Waited my whole life for this.
Stare in mirror.
At myself.
What. Do. YOU. Want?
Tears building.

Go after it.
The happily ever after.
Open door.
Eleven steps to her door.
She sits. On her bed. Alone.
She looks up.
Wet eyes. Sad eyes. Confused eyes.

Hold out hand.
She takes it. She stands.
I hug. Hard.
Harder than ever before.
I will never leave you, I say.
Promise me, she cries.

Now do it.

But, I say.
She pulls back.
She looks.
Tears track.
Wipe hers. Then mine.

Lead her out. Down the stairs.
Into living room.
Beckett stands. Worried. His face shows.
Who will she choose? He wonders.
She already chose.
She just doesn’t know yet.
But I do.

Standing. In front of both.
Before more tears.
Take her hand.
Take his hand.
Place hers. In…
Because it is right.

Half-hearted smile.
Half-broken, half-fixed heart.
Now find her.
Waiting in kitchen. Talking to parents.
Big, beautiful, welcoming smile.
The smile I need.
The smile I want.

Let’s go, I say.
Okay, she says.
I take her hand.
Kimberly’s hand.
And I like it.


What’s wrong? She asks.
I just…
Need a hug, I say.

And she hugs me.


Amazing. Beautiful. Fantastic. Miraculous. I LOVE ADAM.
Leave a comment and gush over Letting Go.