WANT AN ARC OF STEPPING STONES?

If you haven’t heard by now, I have a NEW book coming out August 25! Stepping Stones, a YA Urban Fantasy, is a story of loss, endurance, hope, and of course, love, and it needs early reviews! (Goodreads Here!)

Onnaleigh Moore is part of a plan—and it isn’t hers. When her brother dies in a car accident, Onna is desperate to preserve the tatters of her family. Any hope of finding normalcy vanishes when her mother runs off and her dad turns to booze to numb his pain. Onna’s grief is crippling, but the boy who showed up just when she needed him is helping her cope.

Everett’s presence is comforting, though he knows things—Onna’s name just before they met, where she lives, and sometimes he comments on thoughts she doesn’t say aloud. She pegs him for a stalker, or maybe psychic, but the truth is deadlier than she imagines. As their feelings for one another deepen, Everett confesses a horrifying secret: Onna’s brother is only the beginning of the plan, and some fates are worse than death.

If you’re a book blogger and want to get your hands on a copy, please fill up the form below and I’ll be in contact if you’re chosen. ARCs will be available in early July and reviews should post before the last week in August. I look forward to sharing Onna and Everett with you!

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MY BEST BOOKS OF 2014!

I set out to read 60 books this year, but fell short at 50. If I add in all the times I read my own manuscripts, I’ve read at least 100 books, so I’ll let it slide. I’ve compiled my favorite books of 2014 for your perusal. (Some of them were published before 2014. Whatever. Books don’t suddenly lose their readability because of their age!) A lot of them were continuations of a series (or the final books, SADNESS!). A lot of the books appear more than once on my list. What can I say? I like what I like.

I’ve got a pile started for 2015. What’s on your favorites list? Leave me a comment!

Top 5 Reads


1. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
2. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Review HERE.)
3. Third Degree by Julie Cross (Loved, loved, loved this book! Review HERE.)
4. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (Review HERE.)
5. Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Romance (The kind with a plot. Don’t be crazy.)


1. Third Degree by Julie Cross
2. Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross (Cross writes non-skanky romance, and I love her for it.)
3. Making Faces by Amy Harmon (This book was SO good. Review HERE.)

Kick Ass Heroines


1. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (Clary. I ❤ Clary.)
2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (This book surprised me. The writing was AH-MAZING)
3. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Books with Boys I Love


1. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (Jace. Magnus. Simon. I love boys.)
2. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Noah. Sigh. I need more of him.)
3. Where She Went by Gayle Forman (Adam. Boys. In bands. Always bad news, haha.)

Books that Wrecked Me


1. Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander (Review HERE.)
2. How We Deal with Gravity by Ginger Scott (Review HERE.)
3. Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor (Heartbreaking! Review HERE.)

Something a Little Different


1. Lovely Vicious by Sara Wolf (Talk about snark! I loved the MC’s voice!)
2. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (Dark, beautiful writing.)
3. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (Not your typical YA about a snowflake girl. Nice deviation from the norm.)

REFLECTION POND BUZZ

Reflection-Pond-ebook-1-VanReflection Pond

Ebook $2.99 (Kindle, Nook, Kobo)

Paperback $9.99 (Amazon)

Reflection Pond has been out for a little over 2 months now, and I have been crazy busy with promotions and advertising and trying to get Reflection Pond where it belongs, in the hands of readers. The response has been encouragingly positive and I’m so grateful to my readers who have taken the time to write a review – good or bad, authors NEED feedback on their work. How will we ever improve if no one tells us what we’re doing right and wrong?

Yesterday I visited a local bookstore, The Book Shelf in Lapeer, Michigan. Antithesis, Reflection Pond, and Sucker Literary Volume 3 are on their shelves. I’m still amazed at how helpful people can be, even when they get very little out of it in return. It’s one thing that baffles me about the writing world, how helpful, how encouraging authors and other literary peeps can be. I can only hope that in the ever changing publishing world, with its monopolies and divisions and fights for rights, that the people involved can remain true to what’s really important – feeding readers great books, of course.

Behind the scenes, I’ve been hard at work on the sequel to Reflection Pond, Poison Tree (which you can add on Goodreads). I’m about halfway finished with the first draft. It’s starts and stops at this point. Sometimes I feel like a brilliant author, and other times, I’m just a girl hidden in the dark with her laptop. I think we all have those moments – famous, infamous, anonymous. Still, I press on, wanting so badly to bring my words to life.

The main point behind this post is to share some of the incredible reviews Reflection Pond has gotten. I’m grateful, I know I’ve said that before, but I’m also humbled. No matter how many things I create, there’s always a giddy sense of terror waiting for reviews, and when people relate to what I write, find humor, joy, any emotion really, it’s the best feeling. I’ll quit my babbling and get to the goods.

The Reviews- Click the name to read the full review.

Vanderkarr writes with power. Her narrative sucks you in, and doesn’t let you go. Connie J Jasperson, Best in Fantasy

Kacey Vanderkarr may be a young author but has proved herself to be extremely accomplished and I hope to read all her past and future work. If the sequel -‘Poison Tree’- is half as good as this then we are in for a real treat! I would recommend this book to anyone and give it a thoroughly deserved 5/5! Sophie David

“The romance was only a small part in the book, but it was definitely strong. I loved the chemistry between Callie and Rowan. It really came alive and I could just feel the sexual tension between the two. Their witty banter was cute and made the relationship seem more real. And Rowan wasn’t this perfect bad boy. He had his own fears and problems, his own complex past. He certainly wasn’t perfect, but neither was Callie.” -Nikki Austin

“Reflection Pond was wonderfully written with Kacey Vanderkarr detailing a very riveting world with sensational characters. Racing towards an exciting ending that opens up a brand new chapter to the story; I’m beyond excitedly looking forward to the next book to continue Callie and Rowen’s journey!”-Rachel, The Rest is Still UnWritten

“I was pulled in from the very beginning and was glued to my kindle throughout the entire book. As I got closer the end of the book I realized that I didn’t want it to end.” -Shannan Lee Williams

There are lots of reviews on Goodreads and Amazon if you want to read more. This is just a small selection.

So, thanks readers, for being so great and for taking the time to read my words and reviewing them. It means so much to me.

Later this week, as a thanks, I will post an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Poison Tree, which I hope to publish December 2, 2014. Not much longer to wait, friends!

All the best,

Kacey

 

 

 

 

NEW REVIEW / INTERVIEW / EXCERPT SITE

Book Image Large (2)I’m fresh off a blog tour for Reflection Pond. And while it went well, and all of the sites were welcoming and helpful, I’m left with the feeling that nobody cares about cookie cutter posts. So what do I do? I start a blog for readers and writers with the promise that there will not be any cookie cutter book blasts. Every post will have substance, a little behind the scenes action to tell the reader that this is the book for them. I will cater to authors, both indie and traditionally published, because after all, the fiction world is all about getting the right book in the hands of the right reader.

So I encourage you to PLEASE PLEASE follow Read My Dang Book.

Are you an author? I want to INTERVIEW YOU and post an EXCERPT from your book. I’m also accepting REVIEW requests. I want to participate in book tours and giveaways. Send me all your books!

Read my Dang Book is about authors. It’s about readers. It’s about that magical moment when you lose yourself inside another world. I hope you’ll join me on this journey!

All the best,

Kacey

 

REFLECTION POND BLOG TOUR

Reflection Pond is going on tour with Irresistible Reads Tours. At the bottom you will find the tour schedule where you can get in on the action.

Reflection Pond for PrintPDF6_page1_image1Have you picked up your copy of Reflection Pond yet? Here’s what other people are saying –

“This book was definitely original.”

“I could not put this book down.

“I loved the chemistry between Callie and Rowan. It really came alive and I could just feel the sexual tension between the two.”

-Nikki

Full review HERE.

“The book offered everything. Romance, intrigue, murder, some minor violence.”

-Heather

Full review HERE.

“I loved this book!

“This is a story you don’t want to miss.”

-Iris

Full review HERE.

TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, April 28:

Margay Leah Justice – Promotional Post

Tuesday, April 29:

Coffee Books & Art – Book Excerpt

Wednesday, April 30:

Endless Reading – Book Excerpt

Thursday, May 1:

Zili In The Sky – Guest Post

Friday, May 2:

Library Mosaic – Promotional Post

Monday, May 5:

The Phantom Paragrapher – Book Excerpt

Tuesday, May 6:

CJ Mckenzie @ Goodreads – Review

Wednesday, May 7:

Chelsea’s Reading Adventures – Review

Thursday, May 8:

Library Mosaic – Book Excerpt

Friday, May 9:

YA Bookaddict – Book Excerpt

Monday, May 12:

Readsalot – Book Excerpt

Tuesday, May 13:

Chelsea’s Reading Adventures – Book Excerpt

Wednesday, May 14:

Whispered Thoughts – Review

Literary Meandering – Interview

Thursday, May 15:

Paradise of Pages – Review

Kristy Centeno – Promotional Post

Friday, May 16:

Margay Leah Justice – Book Excerpt

Monday, May 19:

The Rest Is Still Unwritten – Promotional Post

Tuesday, May 20:

The Rest Is Still Unwritten – Review

Wednesday, May 21:

All Things YA and NA – Guest Post

Thursday, May 22:

Lekeisha The Booknerd – Review

Friday, May 23:

Monday, May 26:

Ladybug Literature – Book Excerpt

Tuesday, May 27:

Coffee Books & Art – Promotional Post

Wednesday, May 28:

Wrap-Up

REVIEW – THIRD DEGREE BY JULIE CROSS

Third Degree by Julie Cross

Available March 25, 2014 from Flirt

Goodreads

Amazon

*

I used to be “Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy.” As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I’m not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life—the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program—and it turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.


But so far, my roommate hates me and I’m not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we’re hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can’t teach me: love. Because I’m going to be alone forever if I don’t learn fast.

*

I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and I am in no way compensated for my opinions.

I have so many good things to say about this book that I don’t even know where to begin.

As a character, Isabel was well defined and rounded. I connected with her on an emotional level. Her struggle to fit in, to be “normal” even though she was extraordinary was something anyone could relate to. Every relationship she had was carefully thought out and showed her growth, or regression, as a person. This made every heartbreak, every insecurity, and every joy feel as if I’d experienced it myself. She was a brittle kind of strong, where she always seemed ready to break. I enjoyed her struggle to identify herself as Izzy Jenkins, teenager, instead of just Isabel Jenkins, MD.

Marshall was the perfect male lead, as well as the perfect balance to Isabel’s character. He was sweet, with a strong love for his overbearing family and deep loyalty to his friends. He always put himself last, and in the way of heroes, this isn’t such a terrible flaw to have. His personality was a great complement to Isabel’s struggle. I loved watching them figure it out together. His eventual sickness was so tangible, so real, that I couldn’t put this book down.

The pacing of Third Degree was spot on. I was never bored, nor did I figure things out before the characters. I opened the book and fell into perfection. Julie Cross…you genius, you.

If you’ve followed my reviews, you know that I haven’t read a lot of NA because it tries too hard. I think authors are excited because they can finally write YA with all the sex. I prefer my romances heavy on the story with a side dish of sex as opposed to heavy on the sex with a side dish of story. I’ve been disappointed before, but basically, if Julie Cross could write EVERY NA book from here on out, I would be one happy reader. I need authors to focus on the story before they get to the sex. I need to care about the characters before you start throwing in words like “nipples”. Cross, however, made me love the characters long before I got to the “good stuff”. So when the sex happened, it was PERFECTION, not raunchy, nothing like the other NA books I’ve read.

NA writers, please, PLEASE reference Julie Cross. She knows what she’s doing!!

I can’t say a single bad thing about this book. Being in the medical field, I really enjoyed all the references to medicine, though I don’t think it was overdone, just enough to immerse the reader in Isabel’s world. It made Marshall’s condition real. It made me ache for him.

Third Degree was perfect. (I know, I’ve said that three times, at least.) With a suspenseful, romantic plot and crush worthy characters, Julie Cross has nailed NA romance. This book will satisfy readers who want their romances with an original plot. Julie Cross is fantastic.

Read Third Degree. Seriously.

REVIEW – THE HERE AND NOW BY ANN BRASHARES

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Release date: April 8, 2014

Delacorte Press

Goodreads

Amazon

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley. I do not receive any compensation for my reviews.

Let me start with a disclaimer. I went into this book with zero expectations because I’ve never read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, though I think I watched part of the movie once. Basically, I knew nothing of the author’s writing style.

The Here and Now follows Prenna, who is a time traveler from the future. She, her mother, and hundreds of others from her time, returned to 2010 to undo history, and stop the world from destroying itself. Or so they’re told. Their “community” follows a list of rules. Basically, don’t tell anyone where you’re from, don’t fall in love or be intimate with any time “natives,” and obey your community leaders at all costs. As the story unfolds, we learn that the leaders are bad, and only made up the rules to protect themselves, and they have zero intention of saving the world, just living in the past so they don’t have to die of a plague in the future. Prenna’s father doesn’t come with them when they travel, though he does show up later, as a homeless man, 24 years older than when she left him. The story twists and weaves its way into a huge mess, which leaves Prenna, her love interest Ethan, and the fate of the world in danger. It’s up to Prenna and Ethan to stop a murder to change the course of time, or the world will continue on the same path, and the plague will take over.

The Here and Now left me waiting…and wanting. I’m assuming this is going to be a series as there was a lot of loose ends left at the end of the book. I’m not a huge fan of first person present tense writing. It grates of my nerves as so little of it is written well. When I first started the book, I got the feeling that The Here and Now would be no different. There’s a lot of passive phrasing, which is so EASILY corrected, I’m not sure why no one has taken the time to do it. Perhaps before the final releases, it’ll be taken care of.

Let’s begin with Prenna. At the start, she comes off as a shy girl, bound by the constraints of her “people” and “community.” However, it doesn’t take long for her to become brave, demanding, and basically oblivious to the consequences of her actions. I liked her character to a point, but I got the impression that she had a one track mind and that the repercussions didn’t matter.

Next, we have Ethan, who is the real gem of this book. He’s nerdy, he’s smart, he’s patient, he’s brave. He seems to do things for the right reasons and be conscious that there are more important things than just himself and the girl he cares about.

The story itself is…okay. I followed along easily, the first person thing kind of fell away as I got more into it, but I’m still left scratching my head a little. Not to mention that the “big reveals” felt like small blips, because I had to wait about fifty pages after I figured it out for the character to finally get it. I don’t like knowing stuff before the character does, it steals all of their glory. The specific case of this is the homeless man being Prenna’s father. I don’t buy that she doesn’t recognize him right away. This is explained away because he’s “older” and came from a “hard place,” but I don’t buy it. I knew it was her father right away.

Also, why are there so many copies of the drawing Ethan made after Prenna came through by the river? He gave one to Prenna’s father…I think? And then one to Andrew Baltos? And there’s still one in his drawer at home. This wasn’t ever really followed up on. Now that her father and Baltos are dead…maybe it’s the time travel that confuses me. And how does Ethan know that he’s the “Moses” when he looked in Baltos’s wallet? I’m still confused. I guess it was probably Ethan’s ability to “sight” the travelers…but it’s never explained why he has this sight. Seems too convenient to the storyline and I hate “just because” answers.

What I really enjoyed about the story was the relationship development between Prenna and Ethan. It’s the only pacing in the story that worked for me. Up until they start talking about having sex. I might be alone in this, but I’m really over the “we can’t have sex because you’ll die” thing. I can’t count how many books I’ve read that have this theme. All of them young adult, and in all of them, it irritated me. It’s like the author can’t find a reason good enough for the teens to be abstinent, so they hitch it to the fate of the world…like sex is the only reason we exist. Like you can’t have a solid relationship without having sex. I. Don’t. Get. It. It blows sex way out of proportion. It makes it seem all powerful. But in our highly sexualized society, I suppose this is normal.

The other thing I enjoyed is all the references to paper. As an author myself, I’m hung up on paper as well. I think that digitizing everything is going to be the downfall of our society, because we’re relying on something we can’t physically hold in our hands. So I didn’t miss that reference.

Overall, I enjoyed the books, at some points, I found it highly engaging, but overall, it left me wanting and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Will I read a sequel? Maybe, just to get some more of Ethan.

3 Stars