[Cover Reveal] Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

If you're following me either on my blog or on twitter, you know how big a fan I am of Katie McGarry. I adored her Pushing the Limits series, and her Thunder Road series is one of my favorite series EVER. I also loved Say You'll Remember Me. Basically, what Katie writes, I love, so when I was offered the chance to reveal the cover of Katie's newest book, how can I not?

And guys. YOU GUYS. Look at how gorgeous this cover is!!! I squealed so loud when I received the email with the cover - I cannot get enough of it! And like all of Katie's other books, I'm sure Only a Breath Apart will feature realistically portrayed teens and an engrossing plot. Why is January 2019 so far away... I already know for sure that this book will be one of my favorites of 2019!

   Title: Only a Breath Apart
   Author: Katie McGarry
   Publisher: Tor Teen
   Release Date: January 22, 2019
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Jesse dreams of working the land that’s been in his family forever. But he’s cursed to lose everything he loves most.

Scarlett is desperate to escape her “charmed” life. But leaving a small town is easier said than done.

Despite their history of heartbreak, when Jesse sees a way they can work together to each get what they want, Scarlett can’t say no. Each midnight meeting between Jesse and Scarlett will push them to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other.

Would you dare to defy destiny? Are our destinies written in stone? Do we become nothing more than the self-fulfilling prophesies of other people's opinions? Or can we dare to become who we believe we were born to be?
“A gorgeous, heartfelt journey of redemption and love” (Wendy Higgins), ONLY A BREATH APART is a young adult contemporary novel from critically acclaimed Katie McGarry.
“Haunting, authentic, and ultimately hopeful” (Tammara Webber), ONLY A BREATH APART will be available on all retailers on January 22, 2019!  
“Gritty and real, Only a Breath Apart is a story of hope conjured from pain, strength drawn from innocence, and love earned from self-respect. Beautiful, poignant, and fierce.”
―Kristen Simmons, critically acclaimed author of the Article 5 series
So, what do you think of the cover? Do you love it as much as I do? And what do you think of the synopsis? Doesn't it sound amazing? Let me know what you think!

We May Be Halfway Through the Year, but Hey, There's Always Time for New Beginnings

Hmmm. This is weird. I feel like I've already 'written' dozens of blog posts in my head, but this would be the first time in months that I actually sit down in front of a laptop and write. Looking back to January and the beginning of a new year, the first thing I thought about was this blog and what I want to happen to it. As funny as it sounds, given that I haven't posted regularly for a long time, I never actually lost the desire to blog and to write. What to post has never been the problem; it's the actual sitting down and writing that has been the issue. I'm pretty sure that I've talked about it here before, but I am terrible at managing my time. There have been a number of weekends wherein I would plan to blog, but what instead happens is that I would sleep and rest because I was too tired. Rinse and repeat. And again. And again. I'm writing this post on the second week of June instead of the first weekend of the year, and while I'm a little disappointed in myself, I'm just happy that I'm actually blogging again. It's hard to explain just how serious I am about this comeback, but I am.

Things have changed a bit since the last time I was here. I used to devour YA books - I read at least three to four a week - but that number has dwindled to a paltry three or four a month. This doesn't mean that I don't read that often anymore though - I'm still the same girl who has trouble sleeping if I don't finish at least one book a day. It's just that the genre of books that I usually read has changed. Now, I read one to two romance novels a day, and I couldn't be happier. I never quite realized just how much I missed reading about heroines going through the same things I do; and I never really realized just how much happily-ever-afters give me strength, courage, and most importantly, hope.

Hope. If I were to be honest, one of the reasons why I haven't been having the best of years is because I haven't been as hopeful as I was before. I stopped being hopeful towards my career and the future. I was satisfied to simply coast along, and all of these just isn't me. I've always been a go-getter. I've always been positive; I've always been hopeful. Reading romance made me feel hope again, and not just because of the happily-ever-afters, and not necessarily about the romantic relationship aspect of all of it. Reading about heroines who go through the same things as me, and then emerge victorious on the other side, continuously make me realize that I can do the same. Maybe things don't happen the way I thought they would, but that's okay. I just have to relax, regroup, and soldier on. And I have to do all of these with hope.

Reading romance brought hope back to me. And I couldn't be more thankful.

So what happens now?

I know that this post makes it seem like I'm saying goodbye to reading and blogging about YA, but that's not the case. I can never say goodbye to YA - reading and blogging about YA brought so many good books to my attention, and I've made so many lifelong friends. I will always have a soft spot for YA Contemporaries, and there are also a lot of upcoming YA Fantasy books I'm excited for. Saying goodbye to YA will never happen. Moving forward, what I'll do is shift the focus of my blog from YA and New Adult to Romance, YA, NA, discussion posts, a weekly meme, and more posts about me. More posts about what I'm doing, and maybe even my travels, and all the random things in between. I've always wanted to make my blog more personal, and this seems like the perfect time to do it.

2018 marks Defiantly Deviant's sixth year in the interwebs, and if you're reading this, I want to say thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for sticking around. Thank you for still listening. If you're a new follower, hey, despite everything, thank you for giving me a chance. To all of you, just... thank you. Thank of you for being a part of my life for the last six years. I hope you all are a part of my life for the next six years too. The next few months are probably going to be tough with me reacquainting myself with blogging, but I honestly couldn't be more excited to see what else I can do, and what else is in store for me.

So this time, believe me when I say that I'm in for the long haul. I'm back!

[Blog Tour: Review] Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Eliza and Her Monsters 
   Title: Eliza and Her Monsters
   Author: Francesca Zappia
   Publisher: HarperCollins
   Release Date: May 30, 2017
Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.
You've ever had the feeling like you want to cry after reading a book? Not because it's terrible or there's an intense cliffhanger, but because it's just flat-out amazing? And when I say cry, I don't really mean quiet tears streaming down your cheeks either - I mean loud sobbing complete with that tightness in your chest. And you don't want to cry just because you enjoyed the book either - rather, it's also because you find yourself relating so much to the main character. Well, folks, this all is how I feel about Eliza and Her Monsters.

The plot of Eliza and Her Monsters is pretty straightforward - high school senior Eliza is LadyConstellation, the creator of wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea (thus making her someone famous in the interwebs), but in school, she has become a master of keeping her head down, and making herself invisible around her peers. A tale of opposites, if I do say so myself. Also, other than Eliza's family, no one knows that she creates this comic and this story that has millions of fans because Eliza keeps her two worlds separate. This notion however gets challenged when Eliza meets Wallace, a transfer student who is a Monstrous Sea fan, and who quickly becomes her friend... and something more.

I feel like Eliza's story is something most of us living in the 21st century can relate to, with keeping your online activities separate from your day to day life. I don't think it's as pronounced now in 2017 as it was 15 years ago, but back then, practically no one on forums and communities you are a member of know what your real name is. You are known by your username, and while your username can be traced to to a blog, that one doesn't have your name either. The only people who know are those you consider your friends, and not just people you talk to every now and then on the forums. I remember being especially meticulous about this when I was younger - I wasn't a BNF (big name fan) by any means, but there were only a handful of people whom I met online who both know my username and who I also text or email. It's the same way that only people I consider good friends know my mobile number and my address. It's about being private and careful about personal details. I really understood where Eliza was coming from, and I related to her from the get go.

Another recurring plot line in Eliza and Her Monsters is how her parents may know about Monstrous Sea and her online life, they don't really understand it, and I would go as far as to say that they didn't try to understand it either. They're always encouraging Eliza to live in the real world, to play outside, and to spend more time with her family without the presence of her sketchpad or her smartphone. I get why they're concerned, and I do think that some of their worrying is valid, but I do believe that this is the generation gap rearing its head. Eliza's parents believe that she has no friends, and despite Eliza constantly telling them about her two best friends whom she met online, Max and Emmy, her parents don't consider the two Eliza's 'real' friends. This is something that really frustrated me. In our world today, we talk to most of our friends all over the world via different apps, so it really bothers me that there are people who don't think that people you meet on the internet are 'real' just because you don't bump into them when you're walking your dog or whatever. Eliza's parents' hearts are in the right place, however, and I like how they gradually started communicating with Eliza and actually getting to know who she is and what she does instead of subconsciously judging.

We have a handful of characters in the book, but the two I connected to the most are Eliza and Wallace. I truly feel like I've gone through what Eliza went through in the book (though I'm nowhere near a creator of something that has millions of fans) because I was immersed in fandom from a very early age. I also loved reading about how both Eliza and Wallace used fandom to help them through both everyday life and tragedy because I have done the same. Fandom is an important part of life for many people, and it truly was a pleasure to read about two people who feel the exact same way. From reading the blurb alone you know what's going to happen well into the book and to whom it will bring tension to, and reading how Eliza and Wallace's relationship progressed was elating, pain-inducing, relaxing, and frustrating at different points, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

I have yet to find a book that I've read this year that I have related to so much. This is YA at its best, and Francesca Zappia has made me a fan of hers for life. I recommend this book to everyone who has ever been in a fandom, and anyone who enjoys a good book, really. Oh, and if you're a fan of beautiful drawings? This book is for you.

Rating: 5 Stars