Monday, August 31, 2015

Stepping Stones (The Stone Series, #1) by Kacey Vanderkarr blog tour with excerpt, review and #Giveaway @kacimari @NereydaG1003 #YA

It is the beginning of a new week and we have a jam packed bunch of days ahead. This Monday we bring a new YA series to our readers with the Stepping Stones blog tour. Keep reading to find out about this book, enjoy the excerpt, and be sure to enter the giveaway.

Stepping Stones (The Stone Series, #1)
by Kacey Vanderkarr
YA contemporary fantasy
Release Date: 08/25/15
Urban Fey Press

Summary from Goodreads:

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.


Later that day, Onna plucked her phone off the bed and cradled it in her hands. She’d never considered how much of her life revolved around the tiny piece of plastic and metal.
Her father left, off to the funeral home to pick out a casket. She tried to go with him, but he refused to the point of yelling, so she let it go. She couldn’t imagine walking between the caskets, trailing her fingers over shiny silver and brushed brass, trying to find a perfect fit for Caleb. Would he want mahogany and gold? Lacquered black with silver accents? What about the interior, the satin where his skin would rest forever? White? Ivory? Open or closed? Maybe he wanted to be cremated.
Onna shuddered, relieved she hadn’t gone.
Unlocking her phone, she pressed the number three, waiting while speed dial connected. Her hand shook when she lifted the phone. It went straight to voicemail.
“It’s Caleb, you know what to do.”
She waited patiently for the beep. “It’s me,” she started, words hardly a whisper. “I—” she broke off, trying to arrange her thoughts into something that made sense. “I just…miss you.” She hung up and dialed again. One day, she knew a stranger would answer.
 Biting her lip to ward off tears, she sat on the bed and pulled her knees up to her chest, trying to think of what Caleb would tell her to do. Life is for the living, Leelee, he’d say, or, I love you little sister, but it’s time to let me go. Or maybe, just think of how small my carbon footprint is, hardly a blip!
She smiled a little. That was exactly how Caleb thought.
Onna pushed a few buttons on her phone, stalling, knowing she would regret whatever came next. Then she dialed her mother’s number. It didn’t ring. Dead, crackling air, filled her ear and then a stranger’s voice, the one she feared from Caleb’s number, told her the number she was trying to reach was no longer in service. She disconnected, clutching the phone until her knuckles turned white.
A hot ache swelled in her belly, arcing upward to her throat. Onna pressed her mouth against the bony curve of her knee to stifle the screams, so hard that she drew blood, but the sounds kept coming, over and over, until her throat was raw. She was glad her father wasn’t home to hear it, that Hunter hadn’t seen her break down. She was on her own in this, determined not to let her dad see how devastated she felt. Someone had to take care of him.
Her hand vibrated, and she looked down, surprised to see her cell still clutched there. Everett’s name flashed on the screen, though Onna knew she hadn’t added his number. He must’ve done it sometime the day before.
E: Do you want me to come back?
She stared at the words, remembering how he knew where she lived, and how he told her his mother was dead. She should say no. Everett was a stranger, but twice now, he’d seen her cry. He bandaged her wounds and watched over her while she slept. His hands helped pull Cora from the burning car.
He’d helped her, but he’d also held her down. Maybe she couldn’t save Caleb, but she could’ve died trying.
Still, Onna couldn’t deny the bit of the warmth Everett created inside of her when everything else was frozen.
She sniffed and wiped away a tear. Maybe a stranger was exactly what she needed. She hit reply.
O: Yes.


Rating: 4 of 5
Cover comment: A sweet, romantic type of picture. Keeps my guessing as to what type of story it it.
Book source: I received a promotional copy.

Stepping Stones, the first book in Kacey Vanderkarr's new YA contemporary fantasy series The Stone, certainly intrigued me and kept me wondering throughout my read. Filled with the usual emotions, complexities and drama of teen life, there was also this undercurrent of mystery introduced when a certain young man comes onto the scene. This mystery only intensified and certainly kept me glued to the pages.
Onna is the main character, a senior in high school who shares a close relationship with her older brother Caleb, has a great best friend named Hunter, and has met an interesting new guy, Everett. When we meet Onna she is reeling from the news that her parents are divorcing and this is simply the beginning to everything this young woman has to endure in this book.
Vanderkarr creates a realistic contemporary world from Onna's home life to school and everything else. As for her characters, I empathized with Onna and liked her. She is strong and yet has enough vulnerability to make her sympathetic. There were times her best friend drove me crazy and her antics seemed to be too much, but their friendship came across as true. Everett is also an interesting character and I won't spoil anything. The one relationship which truly stood out was between Onna and Caleb. Despite his being older and living on his own, these two had an intense and loving bond and he was a great brother. (and had a wonderful girlfriend). I rarely read of such unique sibling relationships today and this one made me smile. It also provided the most heartache.
I really enjoyed Stepping Stones (even the sad parts), especially liked the twist, and was pleasantly surprised by the depth and strength of emotions in this book. Vanderkarr's writing flows and is packed with feeling and vivid descriptions. Onna and Everett's friendship is not a quick attachment and yet the readers immediately senses there is a strong chemistry between these two, something special and different. In fact those two words are how I felt while reading. This story was special and different. As a fan and writer of YA contemporary fantasy, I've become an admirer of Ms. Vanderkarr as well. I can only wonder at what the author has planned for book two and I'm excited to continue this addictive series.

About the Author

Kacey Vanderkarr is a young adult author. She dabbles in fantasy, romance, and sci-fi, complete with faeries, alternate realities, and the occasional plasma gun. She’s known to be annoyingly optimistic and listen to music at the highest decibel. When she’s not writing, she coaches winterguard and works as a sonographer. Kacey lives in Michigan, with her husband, son, and crazy cats. Along with her novels, Reflection Pond and Antithesis, Kacey's short fiction can be found in Sucker Literary Vol 3, and the upcoming Spark Vol 7, Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things, and Out of the Green: Tales from Fairyland.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook
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  1. This is a beautiful promo page and a great review. I really want to know where this story ends.