Cover Reveal and Q&A – Broken by CJ Lyons

For Scarlet Killian, every day is a game of Russian roulette—she has a 1 in 5 chance of dying…

New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons makes her YA debut with a fast-paced thriller sure to keep readers guessing to the very last page.

Fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has one chance for a normal life. Only problem? It just might kill her. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, Scarlet has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. Scarlet has come to terms with the fact that despite the best efforts of her doctors and parents, she’s going to die. Literally of a broken heart.  So when her parents offer her a week to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now… or never.

Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But for the first time in her life she makes real friends. She also makes new discoveries about the truth behind her illness… a truth that might just kill her before her heart does.

broken

Q:Is Long QT a real disease?
CJ: Yes. As a pediatrician I diagnosed my niece with Long QT Syndrome when she was born. Her heart specialists believe she’s the youngest person in the world diagnosed with Long QT. She’s had to take medicine every day of her life and can’t ever skip a day. So far that’s added up to over ten thousand pills taken.

You know that feeling you get when you’ve run as hard and fast as you can and you stop but your heart keeps galloping along? And you wonder for a second if maybe it’s not going to stop, but will keep galloping out of control? But then of course it settles back down. For people with Long QT, their heart doesn’t change gears well, going from regular to galloping and back again. So they have to avoid anything that would make their heart race.

No sports or aerobic exercise. No horror films. No roller coaster rides. No jumping into cold water on a hot summer’s day.

But that doesn’t have to stop someone with Long QT like my niece from having a great life. Today she is a brilliant, active fourteen-year-old who gets straight A’s, enjoys riding horses, archery, reading, breeding Rottweilers, and who wants to grow up to be either a fashion designer or President of the United States. Her main fashion accessory is her portable defibrillator, Phil, who goes with her everywhere, including camping, to the beach, and recently to her first Broadway show.

BROKEN is dedicated to her fearless approach to life where outwitting Death is simply part of her daily routine.

 

Q: What was it like working in an ER? Is it like on TV?
CJ: Definitely nothing like Grey’s Anatomy, but the first few seasons of ER get it right. Working in the ER is basically about learning how to control (and live with) chaos, the art of listening, and how to quickly decide what’s the most important thing you need to tackle next.

I worked three jobs to put myself through medical school and one of them was waitressing at a very busy family restaurant. Honestly, that was the best preparation I ever could have had for life in the ER.

 

Q: Why did you leave medicine to write books?
CJ: I’ve been a storyteller all my life—a fact that used to get me placed in time-out a lot as a kid. But writing stories has always been my way of making sense of the chaos that goes on in the world around us. I wrote my first novel in college and wrote two more science fiction novels in medical school.

Then, while I was an intern at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, one of my close friends was murdered. Dealing with that grief and trauma while still working seventy hours a week and trying to save lives—I wasn’t prepared for that. So I turned to my writing and that’s when I wrote my first thriller. I never thought about actually making a career of it until years later when friends who were published authors encouraged me to enter a national writing contest and I was a finalist. This led to several publishing contracts and I realized that as much as I loved being a doctor, here was a chance for a second dream come true: being a full time writer.

It was a huge leap of faith leaving my job (and my patients—I missed them, a lot!) but I’ve always believed that if you’re going to dream, you should dream big, so I went for it. Since then I’ve published twenty books, hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, won awards for my writing, and most importantly, have had the chance to impact millions of people through my novels. Talk about a dream come true!

 

Q: What’s your best advice for someone who wants to be a writer?
CJ: Never surrender, never give up. Writing is hard work, it takes years to master the craft, so you need to stick with it. And read, read, read…pay attention to what makes the books you like work as well as why the books you don’t like fail. You never stop learning in this job, but that’s also what makes it so much fun.

 

About CJ Lyons
A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sixteen novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge thrillers with heart. CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine), and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday). The author of thrillers such as the Lucy Guardino FBI series, she has sold over 1 million books in the last year.

When not writing, she can be found walking the beaches near her South Carolina Lowcountry home in Columbia, SC, listening to the voices in her head and plotting new and devious ways to create mayhem for her characters. To learn more about her Thrillers with Heart go to www.CJLyons.net.

*Broken will be available November 2013

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Second Chance Sunday – Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

As you may have noticed I’m a Miranda Kenneally fan, both of her and her work. She really has a way about her that hit the teenage soul in all of us and it doesn’t hurt that she writes a super adorable boy. In today’s Second Chance Sunday you will find one of my favorite boys she’s written. Oh, Corndog how I miss thee!

Second Chance Sunday – Stealing Parker by Miranda KenneallyStealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #2
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Published: October 1, 2012
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five-stars

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Completely head over heels in love with Corndog! Sorry, had to get that off my chest first and foremost. ♥ Now that that’s done, on to the book!

I really really loved this book. As a huge Miranda Kenneally fan, I was ecstatic when I realized there were going to be Catching Jordan companion books. And I was even more ecstatic when I was given an advanced copy of Stealing Parker. And even though it is considered a companion book, with some characters from Catching Jordan strongly present, Stealing Parker is definitely a book of its own. It is witty and quirky and gives a peek into how religion can affect some people’s thoughts and behaviors.

Stealing Parker is about Parker, a girl that at one time had it all. She was on the softball team, had really close girlfriends and loving parents. Then one day her mom announces that she is in love with a woman and Parker’s world as she knows it falls apart. Soon she is a victim to taunts by her so-called friends, a shunning of sorts by her church and is no longer comfortable playing the sport she loves since she is ridiculed mercilessly about it. Now unsure where she fits in Parker decides to become a girlie girl. She loses weight, gives herself a makeover and becomes a kissing fanatic. But when her best friend Drew signs her up as manager to his baseball team and Parker meets the new 20 something coach Brian she realizes maybe kissing only one guy isn’t so that bad, especially if that one guy is Brian. But is being with him worth the possible ridicule or is it possible there is someone out there that may just be everything Parker needs and more?

Honestly, I really liked Parker. There was something about her that was just likable. Was she confused about some things? Absolutely. And she was desperate for people to like her again after the debacle with her mom, but the thing I liked best was how clear she was on how the people in her church treated her family and how wrong it was. She never once really questioned how they treated her personally because she was struggling with how she thought she should be treated. What she didn’t like was how they treated her dad. That showed a lot of character to me and showed me what a stand-up person Parker really was. Sure she was young and getting mixed up with Brian may not have been her smartest move, but I could see where she was coming from. She was kind of a lost soul and Brian, the dirtbag that he was, feed off that without even knowing.

What I really liked most about Parker though was her friendships with Drew and Corndog. Parker to me was most herself around both boys and allowed them to be themselves around her. She did everything she could to stand by Drew no matter what, even if it hurt her in the process. And her relationship with Corndog was off the charts great. They had such ease around each other. Plus it didn’t hurt that he was a family guy and just adorable. Did I mention that I loved him? HAHA. But seriously I loved reading about how both relationships grew and changed but still remained strong.

If there was one thing I didn’t like was Drew’s reaction to something that happened towards the end. He bothered me with the way he responded. It wasn’t fair to Parker at all after everything she had done for him and been through with him. He was being childish and selfish. But really that is so minor compared to the rest of this amazing book.

Kenneally has once again shown just how in tune she is with the teen genre and told a story filled with love and heartache and figuring out who you are and who you want by your side. Well done! Well done! I look forward to more.

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Review: Things I Can’t Forget – Miranda Kenneally

Review: Things I Can’t Forget – Miranda KenneallyThings I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #3
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Published: March 1, 2013
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four-stars

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different...

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt - with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy...

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Fantastic. Things I Can’t Forget was really great. It was different than what Kenneally has written in the past focusing hugely on religious beliefs but even with that difference it 100% had the Kenneally feel. Cute boy? Check. Emotional Turmoil? Check. Character Crossover? Check. Add in the religious aspect, which I am personally fascinated by, although not religious myself, and you have a can’t miss story. And She definitely didn’t miss.

Things I Can’t Forget is Kate story. She is a good girl, the one that has always done the right thing. She is basically a parents dream. But what people don’t know is that Kate has done something she finds morally wrong and is keeping it a secret. Separated from her best friend and working as a camp counselor at Cumberland Creek Summer Camp, Kate struggles with the guilt of what she has done and what she knows all while trying to figure out just what she believes in. Add in the added hormonal stress of Matt, the cute counselor that is from Kate’s past(he was her first kiss) and Kate is in for a whirlwind of a summer figuring out just who she is and that things aren’t so cut in dry as they were when you were a kid.

Honestly, I didn’t really like Kate all that much in the beginning. Much like Parker told her, I found her very judgmental. She seemed to see everything one way and one way only and didn’t see how people could choose to live other lifestyles.  However, what I did like about Kate was her ability to grow and develop which thankfully she did. As she got to know people like Parker, Will, Matt, she started to see that people have their own faith and it is okay for them to believe whatever way they want and to make any decisions that they want and it isn’t up to her to judge that or find it morally right. She can be there for someone or not, but that is really all that she has control over. I thank Parker for that and the adorable Matt! Oh Matt, Matt, Matt. Mister Perfectly Imperfect himself. I seriously ♥ him to no end! He was not only smart and adorable but caring and funny and charming. He was the complete package with faults in all. Because of him, I found Kate more tolerable in the beginning then I think I would have. His feelings and actions towards her…swoon!  I can’t gush about him enough. Seriously, I really can’t.  With the addition of Matt and the way he celebrated his faith, Kenneally showed the reader and Kate that there were many ways to believe in a higher power and there isn’t one more right than the other. She showed that there is a time that comes when everyone has to decide what to believe, how to believe and the extent of those beliefs. There is a time to grow up.

We all have that list of writers that whatever they write and put out there to buy we will. Well, Miranda Kenneally is one of those for me. She writes it, I want it. With that said it is nice to add she has yet to disappoint! Three books written, 3 books read and I’m a very pleased reader. The thing is that no matter what the subject is or how sometimes mislead the main character is, Kenneally seems to get it and piece it all together in a way that works. She gets her readers and knows what they want so really she is kind of unstoppable e in my eyes. Although Things I Can’t Forget wasn’t my favorite of her books, it still was an awesome story of growing up and that place when you must start deciding for yourself what you believe in and what you stand for. I look forward to more, more, more from this awesome author and storyteller.

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Second Chance Sunday – Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

In honor of Super Bowl Sunday Second Chance Sunday is brought to you by:

Second Chance Sunday – Catching Jordan by Miranda KenneallyCatching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Published: December 1, 2011
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five-stars

ONE OF THE BOYS

What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?

To say I was excited for this book is an understatement. A book about football and cute boys? Sign me up. I mean how could you go wrong with two of my favorite things! And Kenneally didn’t let me down. She took what could have been a typical story of finding out what you wanted may not be what you need and made it into more than that.

Jordan is a funny, sassy, tough QB of her high school football team. She has the respect of all the guys on her team and her coach. She isn’t a girly girl or a primper. She is a tomboy that loves the game of football and wants nothing more then to play college ball and to gain the support of her NFL pro father. She has worked hard for this, her spot in life and doesn’t want it to be taken away. And then comes Ty. Ty literally flips Jordan’s whole world around leaving her feeling like she was sacked in the end zone, changing everything she thought she knew and wanted and complicating things.

Complicating things even more is Henry. (And in a complete fan girl moment I must admit I am head over heels for him. LOL). Henry has been Jordan’s bestie for ten years. The two of them are closer then close and when he starts acting weird Jordan is left grasping for something to hold on to. He backs off and Jordan freaks out because Henry is everything and I can’t say I blame her.

I have to say my favorite part of this book was the friendship between Jordan and Henry.
I loved how they were with one another. It is very rare to find a friend that is your soulmate and I truly think these two were that for one another. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every character in this book. From the other guys on the team to the cheerleaders, to Jordan’s parents. Every single one of them added to the story, but Henry and Jordan were the shining light.

Miranda Kennally’s debut was an amazing mix of smiles and tears and laughter and yearning. Add in a Tom Brady and a Nomar Garciaparra mention and this girl is sold! Awesome awesome book. Can’t wait for more from her.

 

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