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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Defying Gravity by Kendra C. Highley - Guest Post & Book Review

About Kendra C. Highley
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica. 
Guest Post

Winter in July: My Favorite “Snowy” Books
By Kendra C. Highley

Defying Gravity is set in Aspen in winter. I actually wrote it in fall/winter, so it was pretty easy to feel the vibe, but I’m happy the book released in the summer. For those of you like me, who live in places like Dallas, a little winter in July sounds pretty good, right? In fact, I clearly remember a radio station playing “Sleigh Ride” on July 1st when I was a kid—and they received over a hundred thank-you calls.

So, that got me thinking—what are some good “wintery” books for those 100+ degree days and you need a dose of cold? Here are a few I enjoy:

1) To go for the sentimental, The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder is about as chilly as you can get. All those blizzards and nothing but a stove to stay warm? Brr!

2) Another good one, Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson is set as autumn turns to winter, and the first snow comes. The main character is from a southern land, held captive in the north. She’s enthralled by snow, but not when she’s soaked through and nearly freezes. (Book 2 in The Remnant Chronicles)

3) The Bitter Kingdom, the third book in The Girl of Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson (one of my top five favorite series) has our heroine and her intrepid friends trying to save the love of her life. Again, the people are from the south (desert, in fact) and have to journey far north as winter descends. On horses. Yep, no central heating in this one.

4) Not exactly set in winter, Winter is the final book in The Lunar Chronicles by Marrisa Meyer. Winter, the titular character, is a SciFi version of Snow White, living on the moon under the reign of her sadistic stepmother. Even though the set pieces are very different, the main fairy tale themes follow pretty closely.

5) The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman finds Lyra heading north, where she meets and teams up with a polar bear (a warrior outcast, who can not only talk, but forge weapons) to save her kidnapped friend.

6) Finally, bonus answer—Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. While a lot of the book centers around other seasons, the winter/holiday scenes are often the most memorable. I adored this book when I was younger, and I still do. It’s a cozy read no matter what time of year.

 How about you? What “wintery” books do you enjoy? Help us beat the heart. and let us know!
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Review by Suze
Zoey loves Aspen. It's the only place where she can be herself. At school she's the perfect popular girl who hides behind a mask, but when she goes on holiday she can be who she really is for a while. When she's in Aspen she spends most of her time with the Madison brothers. Parker is her best friend and he loves to take her snowboarding. Luke is a year older and he's already in college. He has a lot of female fans and Zoey is one of them, she has a huge crush on him. When it's time to go to Aspen again she decides to find out if he feels the same about her.
Luke is a player and he breaks a lot of hearts. He doesn't mind ditching one girl for another and just lives for the moment. Zoey is a pretty girl, so he likes to flirt with her and thinks that maybe she can be his for a while. Parker has been in love with Zoey for a long time and he wants her to be his long-term girlfriend. The girl of his dreams is having a crush on his brother, but he's determined to change that. He's going to convince her that he's the one for her. Will Zoey choose the right Madison brother?
Defying Gravity is a wonderful winter story. I immediately loved the beautiful setting. Kendra C. Highley's descriptions of Aspen are magical and she makes the place come to life very well. I could easily picture the mountains and the beautiful snow. The snowboard descriptions are amazing, Kendra C. Highley writes about what it feels like to descend the mountains in an enthusiastic and lively manner. It's a fabulous topic for a story and I think it has been thoroughly researched and executed.
Zoey is pretty and popular, but most of the time she's acting. She doesn't have as much confidence as she likes people to believe and she actually would rather be a person who doesn't wear makeup and carefully selected outfits, which is one of the reasons she treasures her holidays. She loves snowboarding, reading, baking cookies and watching a lot of movies. Parker is the only one who gets to see who she is on the inside and their friendship is special. Luke is a player and he's extremely competitive towards Parker. He wants to beat his younger brother in everything, even in getting the girl Parker has always been in love with. As Parker is such a sweet guy that was quite tough to see, but he's giving everything he has and I loved that about him. There's plenty of great chemistry and I liked the heartwarming romance a lot.
Kendra C. Highley has written a great story about love, future dreams, friendship and snowboarding. Aspen is the perfect setting for a romantic story. I loved the main characters and the wonderful atmosphere. If you enjoy fun, flirty winter wonderland books you should definitely read Defying Gravity, it's a delightful story.


  1. Oh, wow, just my kind of read. I just added the book on my Wish list.

  2. Sounds great! Thanks for the review! =)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I wouldn't mind swopping a Texas summer for an Irish one! Just to see what a real summer's like for a change!

  5. Defying Gravity sounds like a beautiful romance novel with a romance trope that's a favourite of mine - friends to lovers. I love how Parker has been crushing on ZOey for years but she is interested in his brother as it sets the bar for some juicy scenes but I'm sure the good guy will win out in the end <3

  6. Sounds interesting, many thanks!

  7. Ooooo this sounds so cute, gotta check it out!! And really liked some of the winter book recommendations, thanks!! I looooove the Snow Queen series by KM Shea - excellent and gorgeous winter scenes! :D

  8. The winter scenes in Little Women are very memorable.