Monday, January 21, 2019

Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
[Blog Tour: Review + Excerpt + Giveaway]

Hello! Welcome to one of the first stops on the Only a Breath Apart blog tour hosted by InkSlinger PR. I'm really happy to share my thoughts on this book with you! Katie McGarry is one of my favorite authors, and I was thrilled to have an opportunity to meet her at a signing last year. She's as awesome as her writing! Only a Breath Apart will be released tomorrow (1/22/19), and will be available on Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, BAM, Barnes & Noble, and Apple Books.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Jesse Lachlin is cursed.

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

"Holes in hearts hurt, and I have too many holes for me to be breathing. Gran poured her love into me, so much, I should have been fixed, but maybe that’s the problem with having too many holes. All the love that’s poured in falls out."
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I'm sorry this is posting so late today! I received my review copy for the tour a little late, and only finished reading it this morning. I tried to stay up late last night, but my eyes refused to stay open despite how engrossed I was in the story. Katie McGarry never fails to captivate me with her writing, and Only a Breath Apart was no exception. My heart was breaking for both Jesse and Scarlett, and I enjoyed watching them learn to trust in each other again.

Neither character has had an easy life, and their secrets are vastly different, but they've always been connected. I don't know if it was something they shared as children, or some connection the land, but there was something that kept these two together. They've needed each other, and their loneliness was painful to read about. They've guarded themselves against the world (with good reason), and it took the two of them working together to penetrate those walls. It's hard to overcome the need for self-preservation, and learning how to love is never easy.

I hated the way these two treated each other at the beginning of the book, especially after seeing how much they cared for one another as children. They grew up together, and then something happened to end their friendship. The reason isn't revealed for awhile, and I wish Jesse had been honest with Scarlett from the beginning. He could have told her the promise he made to his mother, and how it contradicted the one he made to his Gran. I think Scarlett would have been understanding, but instead he left her in her own personal hell with no one to talk to.

There are some supernatural aspects to this story, but it's subtle. Glory claims to be a psychic and tells Scarlett she is too, but even Jesse just thinks his cousin is exceptionally good at conning people. Glory would read palms and perform tarot card readings, but she also managed to make predictions that had an uncanny ability to come true. It's left up to the reader to determine whether or not they want to believe in something magical, or play it off as a coincidence. I thought McGarry did a wonderful job balancing between the two.

I was so angry while I read this book, but it wasn't directed at Scarlett and Jesse. Yes, I wanted them to talk to each other and share confidences, but I also understood where both of them were coming from. I was angry with how the world treated them, and what they had to endure just to get though each and every day. They both had dreams and aspirations, but neither had people that believed in them. Their friends were there, but on the outskirts and never privy to the emotional turmoil they both experienced.

Only a Breath Apart was another phenomenal book by Katie McGarry! If you've enjoyed her books in the past, I'm sure you'll love this one even more. If you haven't had a chance to read anything by this author, I highly recommend your grab one her books as soon as you can. I have so many feelings right now, and I love it!



“So you’re the decision maker now?”

He waits too many beats before speaking or maybe not enough. “I took on this role because, believe it or not, I care. I won’t pretend to understand the pain you’ve gone through, and I won’t pretend to understand your connection to this land. I’ve watched you grow up. I know, for you, this farm is like a Band-Aid on cuts that won’t stop bleeding.”

If that was meant to make me feel better, it didn’t. “You’ll never vote for me. You’re biased.”

“I’m not biased.”

For days I’ve been a stick under pressure, being bent too far. Finally, I snap. “I know you told Gran not to take me in after Mom died and to put me in foster care. You told her I was too broken and couldn’t be fixed. I know because I heard you. Tell me now you’re not biased.”

Guilt flashes over his face, and he tries to hide it as he flips through the folder in his hands. “If it helps, that’s why your grandmother set up the tribunal and chose two other people to help make the decision. Majority vote will win, and she believed you’ll rise to the challenge.”

I’m not sure if I respect him or hate him for not denying what we both know is true regarding the foster care. I’m also not sure how I feel that he doesn’t apologize either.

“She chose people who will give you a fair shake,” he continues. “This isn’t a death sentence. It’s a wakeup call. It’s August, and you have until May to prove you’re responsible. You have time. Take it. Prove me wrong.”

A growing sense of purpose takes root within me, and I do my best to funnel my anger and grief into it. “Who, besides you, is on the tribunal?”

If I tell you then I run the risk of you putting on a show for those people. This is your chance to change for the better. Take advantage of it.” Marshall leaves the paperwork on the antique table, shoves his folder back in his leather bag, and stands. “If it’s any consolation, I want you to succeed, but I want you to truly succeed. I won’t vote for you to keep the land unless you show me you understand what it means to run a farm of this magnitude.”

It’s no consolation. That’s him attempting to ease his guilt for when he votes against me.

“I’m sorry for your loss, Jesse. If you need to talk or if you’d like to stop by for a meal, you’re welcome at my house. And if you get tired of being here alone, you can live with us. We have plenty of room.”

I don’t believe any of that, but I nod because doing so will get him out of my home faster. Marshall stares at me for a few more seconds, as if contemplating saying more, but he doesn’t. Instead he walks out, shutting the door behind him.

His engine purrs to life and rocks crack under his moving tires. Then there’s silence. Maddening silence. I drop into Gran’s recliner, lower my head into my hands and close my eyes. I’ve lost Gran, and now I could lose my land. The only thing left that I love. The only thing in my life that brings me peace. “Why, Gran?”

I strain to listen in the silence, and my gut twists that there’s no response. “I miss you.”

Still no response and my head begins to throb. My cell in my back pocket vibrates. I dig it out, expecting to see a text from one of my friends, but I pop my neck to the right at the sight of Glory’s name. You need to stop by tomorrow night.

Me: No

Glory: I know of your grandmother’s plan

Me: So do I

Glory: But I know who the people are who will be deciding your future.

Me—stone cold frozen.

Glory: Stop by tomorrow at nine. I should be wrapping up my last session then.

Me: I won’t be there.

Glory: Yes, you will. 

About the author:

Katie is the author of the PUSHING THE LIMITS series, THUNDER ROAD series, SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME, and the upcoming YA novel, ONLY A BREATH APART. Her novels have received starred reviews, critical acclaim and have won multiple awards including being a multiple Goodreads Choice Award Finalist for YA Fiction, multiple RT Magazine's Reviewer's Choice Award Finalist for Best YA Fiction, including a win in the category, and she was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick.


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  1. Thank you so much for sharing! ~Jessica, InkSlinger PR

    1. I was happy to read her book and share my thoughts! <3

  2. Is this book going to break me? I'm scared to read angst-ridden books nowadays. :/

    1. I don't think it will break you, but it will probably make you angry on the character's behalf. It's hard watching them endure certain things, but we see them grow and become better versions of themselves. I think you'd enjoy it! :)

    2. I also wouldn't say it's "angst-ridden" since they're both dealing with very serious problems. They're futures are uncertain, and they're fighting for what they want.

  3. It's an author I really need to try

    1. Yes! She's written some really amazing books. :)

  4. I was into the magical elements in this book. It was really different for McGarry, but she totally made it work. The palmistry stuff was actually quite interesting.

    1. She totally did! I really liked the little tidbits of information that I picked up, like how seeing something heath lines actually meant they weren't healthy. It was interesting! I also liked Glory and thought she was a wonderful addition the story. She had a unique perspective and really wanted to help Jesse and Scarlett.

  5. I think you know you've read a good book if it can illicit strong emotions in you.

    1. I agree! McGarry always writes wonderful characters! It's hard not to fall in love with them and feel the things that they do.

  6. I just finished this book last night and I agree it was hard to put down. McGarry is definitely one of my favorite contemp authors---she always makes me feel so much for her characters!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. I'm so happy you enjoyed this one! It's a new favorite of mine! I really liked Jesse and Scarlett. They were dealing with incredibly difficult problems, and I liked that it wasn't solely focused on high school drama. McGarry tends to deal with deeper and relevant issues, which I think the world needs. There are a lot of people in similar situations, and I think her story might give them hope, or show them that there are other options available.

  7. I really need to read something by Katie McGarry! This one certainly sounds like a good read, I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

    1. Yes! I really loved this one, and Say You'll Remember Me is great, too. Pushing the Limits is another one I enjoyed! So many choices! <3

  8. Great review, Lindsi! While I was on the fence about the magical realism elements in the story, I really loved the characters. And one of my favorite things about Katie's writing is that she never makes it black and white. It's not just right and wring or good people and bad people - she really shows how complex issues and people are.

    1. Scarlett never said she believed in the magical aspects, but she did learn to read information from people's palms. I still don't think Jesse believes in it either, but he did admit to a lot of "coincidences" when Glory was involved. She believed in herself and her abilities, but never pushed them on anyone else, although some of her predictions were eerily accurate.

      Yes! Katie McGarry always writes amazing characters! They feel so real and authentic, and they're often struggling with issues people can relate to. She doesn't shy away from the darker problems, and I like how she chooses to address them in her books.


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― Marissa Meyer, Heartless