Book Review: Searching for Beautiful by Nyrae Dawn

Searching For Beautiful

Title: Searching For Beautiful

Author: Nyrae Dawn

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Release Date: March 4th 2014

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

Before, Brynn had a group of best friends, a loving boyfriend, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And after…she had none.

When Brynn lost the boyfriend who never loved her, the friends who feel she betrayed their trust, and the new life just beginning to grow inside her, she believes her future is as empty as her body. But then Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of.

But can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?

When it comes to Nyrae’s books, I’ve come to expect certain things from them. First there is Nyrae’s brilliant writing. She has this way of telling a story in a beautiful, honest, gripping way. Next there is the characters that are realistic and flawed in the most spectacular ways. And then there is a sense of peace, hope, and happiness I get at the end of each book. She has this way of tearing your heart out throughout the course of the book but somehow manages to piece it back together by the end. Searching for Beautiful, while it may be different from any other Nyrae Dawn book I have ever read before, had all of these characteristics and so much more.

Brynn’s story is one that I think everyone should read. It will likely break your heart but regardless, it is an important message, one that Nyrae portrays beautifully. Nyrae split this story up into “Before” sections an “Now” sections so we got to see the person Brynn used to be and the way Brynn is now. Hearing about how vibrant and care-free she was when her mom was around to how lost her and her dad became after her mom’s death, then how dependent she was on Jason, a boy who had bad news written all over him but she failed to see, and finally to how broken, scared, and lonely she was when she was left without her mom, without Jason, and without anyone to rely on but herself.

Brynn’s problems only seemed to be doubling with every turn of the page and she was slowly unraveling, which is why I was so grateful when Christian entered in all of his advice-giving, friend-being, candy-chewing, guitar-playing glory. Christian was there for Brynn when it felt like no one else was. He was there to listen and give her advice when she needed it most. What I liked most about Christian was not these other great qualities he had but it was because he was not always likable. Now I know that sentence might come as a shock to you but allow me to explain. Christian can sometimes be judgmental and harsh, he sometimes says things to Brynn without thinking of how she will take it, and his temper gets in the way a few times. So why is it that I like this most about him? IT MAKES HIM REAL! I loved that Christian seemed so incredibly realistic. Guys, well people in general, don’t always say or do the right thing, they aren’t always overly kind and thoughtful but at the end of the day, a good friend tries their best to be there for someone else and this people is exactly what Christian is, a good friend to Brynn.

I also really appreciated the characters of Brenda, Christian’s mom and Emery, a girl who Brynn meets at the community center. Brenda is such a loving, kind, supportive person. This is the first person that Brynn really talks to after her life falls apart. No one could ever take the place of her mother but I think Brynn was in desperate need of a mother figure of some sort and Brenda helped fill that void. As for Emery, she was a good friend for Brynn when Brynn’s friends weren’t there for her. Like Christian, she was a flawed character but despite these flaws, she was honest and there for Brynn when Brynn needed her.

Even though Christian, Brenda, and Emery were there for Brynn, this story isn’t really about leaning on people when life gives you piles and piles of lemons. It’s more about learning to be strong, realizing you are more than your mistakes, and seeing just how amazing, beautiful, and strong you really are. This is a lesson that Brynn learns throughout the course of Searching for Beautiful with some help from these other awesome characters yes, but mostly, it is a lesson she learns on her own. This is why this book was so different from any other Nyrae book I’ve read before. Usually there is a beautiful romance involved and for this book, the romance didn’t really take the lead. It was more of a story of a girl learning to love herself, flaws, mistakes, and all.

Do you see what I mean now? Searching for Beautiful is a story we should ALL read.

If this book had a song, it would be…

This is something new I am going to try to add to all of my reviews. If I don’t do an entire playlist for a book, I am at least going to pick a song to go along with it!

Nothing Stays The Same by Luke Sital-Singh

This song is brilliant and I feel like it fits the book for many reasons. The whole heartbreaking-yet-hopeful feeling I got while reading Searching for Beautiful is the same feeling I get when I hear this song. Also, the lyrics are so fitting with the book. So much is changing for Brynn through the course of the book and the lyrics of this song definitely nail that message home.


Website // Goodreads // Twitter // Facebook


Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Thank God It’s Indie Friday (2)


TGIIF is a new feature here at Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands in which I will feature an indie author and indie band/musician every week. If you are an author or musician interested in being featured, please check out this blog post for more information!

Hi there and welcome to round two of TGIIF! I am very excited to be sharing another one of my FAVORITE authors today as well as an amazing band I think you guys are going to want to keep your eyes on!

Today’s Indie Author Is…

Nyrae Dawn!

I stumbled across the absolutely AMAZING Nyrae Dawn almost exactly a year ago when I picked up her book, Charade. All it took was that one book and I knew I would be a fan-girl of hers for forever. Seriously, that book captured me on the first page and it has yet to let me go. Since reading Charade I have read the sequel Facade and a book she co-wrote with fellow awesome author Jolene Perry called Dizzy.

Nyrae has mastered the art of publishing across several platforms in many different ways. She can be found writing Young Adult and New Adult books under the name Nyrae Dawn and Adult books under the name Kelley Vitollo. Some of her books are self-published, some of her books are published through Entangled, and some are published through Grand Central Publishing. Regardless of what genre the book is or how it is published, what you will get is an awesome story. I’ve compiled a list of all her books below with all the links you could ever need. I am also sharing the book playlist I compiled for my latest read of hers, Facade. I hope you all enjoy and decide to pick up one of Nyrae’s books!

Charade  Facade  Masquerade

Charade (Games #1)

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Review // Book Playlist

Facade (Games #2)

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Masquerade (Games #3)

Goodreads // Pre-order on Amazon // Pre-order on Barnes & Noble

The Hook-Up Doctors Guide  What A Boy Wants  What A Boy Needs

The Hook-Up Doctor’s Guide (What A Boy Wants #.5)

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

What A Boy Wants (What A Boy Wants #1)

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

What A Boy Needs (What A Boy Wants #2)

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Measuring Up  Freeing Carter  Four Summers  Karma Bites

Measuring Up

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Freeing Carter

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Four Summers

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Karma Bites

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Dizzy  Out Of Play


Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Out Of Play

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Lucky Break  Luck Of The Draw  Just My Luck

Lucky Break (Shamrock Falls #1)

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Luck of the Draw (Shamrock Falls #2)

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Just My Luck (Shamrock Falls #3)

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble


I picked each of these songs for different reasons. Some of them reminded me of a specific character or moment in the book. Others, like “Bleed” by Hot Chelle Rae and “Broken” by Lifehouse were picked because I felt they encompassed so much of what the book was about. If you’ve read Facade, what songs would you pick for the book? If not, what do you think of the playlist anyways?


Nyrae on Goodreads // Kelley on Goodreads // Nyrae’s Website // Kelley’s Website

Nyrae’s Twitter // Kelley’s Twitter // Nyrae’s Facebook Page // Kelley’s Facebook Page

Today’s Indie Artist Is…


This band is signed with I Am Mighty Records, and independent label based in the U.K. that I am a fan of. They let me know when their artists release something new, I freak out over the awesome music, and then share it with you guys. I say it’s a pretty good relationship. Alexander has been one of my FAVORITES from I am Mighty Records. Their songs are of the variety that happen to get stuck in your head all day long but that’s okay, because they also sort of really rock. Right now Alexander has two music videos out which I am going to share with you guys today! Also be sure to check out their website and other fun links that I have listed below!

Say Hello

Link to “Unplugged” version

You Lost Yourself

Link to “Unplugged version

Website // YouTube // Twitter // Facebook

Entangled Teen Launch Party + Giveaway

I am absolutely, positively THRILLED to be taking part in the Entangled Teen August 6th launch party! Today is a day that is dedicated to the pure awesomeness of three books. The three books that are causing so much excitement out of yours truly would be Out of Play by Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry, A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris, and Hover by Melissa West (coming August 13th). Be sure to check out just what all three books are about below and enter the freaking awesometastic giveaway that Entangled has put together!

Out Of Play

Title: Out of Play

Authors: Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry

Rock star drummer Bishop Riley doesn’t have a drug problem. Celebrities—especially ones suffering from anxiety—just need a little help taking the edge off sometimes. After downing a few too many pills, Bishop wakes up in the hospital facing an intervention. If he wants to stay in the band, he’ll have to detox while under house arrest in Seldon, Alaska.

Hockey player Penny Jones can’t imagine a life outside of Seldon. Though she has tons of scholarship offers to all the best schools, the last thing she wants is to leave. Who’ll take care of her absentminded gramps? Not her mother, who can’t even be bothered to come home from work, let alone deal with their new tenants next door.

Penny’s not interested in dealing with Bishop’s crappy attitude, and Bishop’s too busy sneaking pills to care. Until he starts hanging out with Gramps and begins to see what he’s been missing. If Bishop wants a chance with the fiery girl next door, he’ll have to admit he has a problem and kick it. Too bad addiction is hard to kick…and Bishop’s about to run out of time.

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Goodreads

Nyrae Dawn: website | Twitter | Facebook

Jolene Perry: website | Twitter | Facebook

A Tale Of Two Centuries

Title: A Tale of Two Centuries

Author: Rachel Harris

Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea.

One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility.

With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Goodreads

Rachel Harris: Website | Twitter | Facebook


Title: Hover

Author: Melissa West

On Earth, seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander was taught to never peek, but if she hopes to survive life on her new planet, Loge, her eyes must never shut.

Because in this world, pleasure is everything, held up by a ruling body that keeps their people in check by giving them what they want and closing their eyes to what’s really happening around them. The only hope Loge has is to move its people to Earth, and they have a plan.

Thousands of humans crossed over to Loge after a poisonous neurotoxin released into Earth’s atmosphere, nearly killing them. They sought refuge in hopes of finding a new life, but what they became were slaves, built to wage war against their home planet. That is, unless Ari and Jackson can stop them.

But on Loge, nothing is as it seems…and no one can be trusted.

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Goodreads

Melissa West: Website | Twitter | Facebook


To add to the excitement over the release of these three awesome books, Entangled is giving away a paperback of each one! Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

Link to the Rafflecopter

In My Mailbox (53)

In My Mailbox

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for book bloggers to post what they have received for review, borrowed from a friend, bought at the bookstore, or picked up at the library!

You guys, I have been having WAY too much fun lately filling up my Nook and Kindle app on my phone with awesomely free/cheap books! Here’s what I got this week:


Double Dare

Double Dare by Rhonda Nelson


Elemental by Alexandra May

The Hook-Up Doctors Guide

The HookUp Doctors Guide by Nyrae Dawn


Steven by Kirsten Osbourne

For Love Of Livvy

For Love Of Livvy by J.M. Griffin

Killer Twist

Killer Twist by Christina Larmer

If You Stay

If You Stay by Courtney Cole


Rule by Jay Crownover

Take Two

Take Two by Whitney Gracia Williams

Planning For Love

Planning For Love by Christi Barth

By Hook Or By Crook

By Hook Or By Crook by Linda Morris

If I Never Knew You

If I Never Knew You by Aubrey Bailey

None Of The Regular Rules

None Of The Regular Rules by Erin Downing

In My Mailbox (49)

In My Mailbox

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for book bloggers to post what they have received for review, borrowed from a friend, bought at the bookstore, or picked up at the library!

This week’s IMM is going to look a little on the large side because it’s been a good month since my last IMM post. With Christmas & super good book deals thrown in there, I am now rolling in the bookish goodness!

For Review:

In The Band

In The Band by Jean Haus (e-book)

My Thoughts: I am so uber excited for this one! It just screams “READ ME MUSIC + BOOKISH NERDS!”

Pieces Of Lies

Pieces Of Lies by Angela Richardson (e-book)

My Thoughts: Secret societies, college, romance, and lots more. I had no other choice but to accept this review request!


Liberty by Annie Laurie Cechini (e-book)

My Thoughts: Thanks Rhemalda for a review copy! I cannot wait to get started on this one!


Fallen Too Far

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines (e-book)

My Thoughts: I am quickly becoming an Abbi Glines fanatic. I loved this one!

Someone To Love

Someone To Love by Addison Moore (e-book)

My Thoughts: This one sounds super awesome!


Derailed by Alyssa Rose Ivy (e-book)

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this one a lot! Molly and Ben were awesome together!


Veer by Alyssa Rose Ivy (e-book)

My Thoughts: I only made it about halfway through this one before I lost interest. I just wasn’t connecting to the characters like I was in Derailed.

This Beautiful Thing

This Beautiful Thing by Amanda Heath (e-book)

My Thoughts: I can’t wait to read this one! I can understand where the main character is coming from (my younger brother sometimes acts like an over-protective older brother ESPECIALLY when it comes to guys)

Planning On Forever

Planning On Forever by Ashely Wilcox (e-book)

My Thoughts: Ohh, those pesky love triangles! I can’t wait to see who Alexa ends up with!

My Misery Muse

My Misery Muse by Brei Betzold (e-book)

My Thoughts: Tattoo artist & band member??? Uhh, yes please!


Need by Carrie Jones (e-book)

My Thoughts: I have heard so much about this series. I am so happy to finally have the first book so I can get started!

Just Remember To Breathe

Just Remember To Breathe by Charles Sheehan-Miles (e-book)

My Thoughts: Oh my word, you guys this book was so beautiful and made of awesome!

Tempting The Best Man

Tempting The Best Man by J. Lynn (e-book)

My Thoughts: I ended up really enjoying this one! I loved the tension between Madison & Chase!

Chance Encounters

Chance Encounters by J. Sterling (e-book)

My Thoughts: I am a little iffy on the whole “love at first sight” thing but I am willing to give this one a try. It has some pretty positive reviews!

The Sweetest Thing

The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis

My Thoughts: You guys, I now adore Jill Shalvis with all of my heart! This book follows the oldest sister a.k.a. the one most like me and I LOVED her story!

Head Over Heels

Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis

My Thoughts: Chloe and Sawyer….be still my beating heart! Even though the first three books in this series all received 5 stars from me, this one was still my favorite!

That Boy

That Boy by Jillian Dodd (e-book)

My Thoughts: Jillian helped to create the super awesome event that took place last month, “99 authors, 99 books, 99 cents”. There were so many awesome books for under a dollar. I just HAD to pick up a copy of her book!

Avoiding Commitment

Avoiding Commitment by K. A. Linde (e-book)

My Thoughts: Holy wow, that is the craziest premise ever (okay, so not exactly the craziest but still pretty freaking crazy and totally interesting!)

Down To You

Down To You by M. Leighton (e-book)

My Thoughts: HOLY CRAZY TWIST BATMAN! This book was so good and there was a twist near the middle-ish/end that made my jaw drop!

Bouquet Toss

Bouquet Toss by Melissa Brown (e-book)

My Thoughts: It was .99 and it sounds cute. I say that’s a win/win

Bad Rep

Bad Rep by Meredith A. Walters (e-book)

My Thoughts: Another NA title! I am determined to read some awesome NA books this year!

Up In Flames

Up In Flames by Nicole Williams (e-book)

My Thoughts: Wow, this book blew me away! It was an impulse buy but totally worth it!

The Mighty Storm

The Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle (e-book)

My Thoughts: That cover along with the fact that one of the main characters in a band, has me beyond pumped to read this!

Exclusively Yours

Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

My Thoughts: I’m bouncing around with this series. I started off with book #3 then went to book #1! I felt that this one wasn’t as good as #3 but it was still full of such awesome characters and lots of good laughs (oh, and some sexy times too!!)

Yours To Keep

Yours To Keep by Shannon Stacey

My Thoughts: I loved this book so very much! It was the perfect amount of comedy and romance. Sean & Emma were perfect together!

Slow Summer Kisses

Slow Summer Kisses by Shannon Stacey (e-book)

My Thoughts: This book was short and sweet but it was so well-rounded. I really enjoyed it!

The Dead Girls Detective Agency

The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox

My Thoughts: Kati and I were at Barnes & Noble last week just browsing around when we came across this book. I haven’t heard of it before but it reminds me somewhat of Stacey Kade’s series so I am all sorts of excited to read it!

Sweet Venom

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs (e-book)

My Thoughts: I have heard so many awesome, awesome things about this series! I want to see what the fuss is about.

Cowboy Dark

Cowboy Dark by Tess Oliver (e-book)

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one! I feel like it ended way to abruptly and a little “off” compared to the rest of the story but it was still a fun read.

Fallen Crest High

Fallen Crest High by Tijan (e-book)

My Thoughts: I have been seeing this book around some so I figured I would give it a try!

Something Like Normal

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

My Thoughts: Touching, beautiful, heartbreaking, and lovely. This book was beyond awesome!


From C.A. Kunz:

The Modified

The Modified by C.A. Kunz (signed) + The Childe/The Modified Snow Globe + awesome swag!

My Thoughts: A HUGE thank you to Carol and Adam! This was such an awesome Christmas surprise!

From Jolene Perry:


Dizzy by Nyrae Dawn & Jolene Perry (signed)

My Thoughts: Nyrae & Jolene (aka Dylan & Ziah) had a super fun Twitter chat about 2 months ago! Jolene was sweet enough to send me a signed copy after the chat!

p.s. Thanks Jolene!!!

Christmas Gifts:

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

My Thoughts: HOLY ZOMBIES!!! I cannot wait to see this movie February 1st, but before thin I will be reading this book!

The Friday Society 2

The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

My Thoughts: This book sounds like it is full of awesomesauce. I cannot wait to read about these three kick-butt girls!

From Cyndi:

Such A Rush

Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols

My Thoughts: I am such a fan-girl of Jennifer it’s actually kind of creepy. But creepy tendencies aside, this is one book of hers that I haven’t read yet so I am super happy I now have it. Thank you so much Cyndi <3

From Justin:

Zack (my little brother) and I would love to say a giant THANK YOU to Justin for such awesome gifts. WE LOVE THEM!

Bot Wars

Bot Wars by J.V. Kade

My Thoughts: Justin sent this one for my brother Zack and I to read together. We both love robots so we can’t wait to read it!


Ungifted by Gordon Korman

My Thoughts: Another Zack & Katelyn book. We love the cover of this one!


Graceling by Kristin Cashore

My Thoughts: This series has been on my ‘to-read” list for FOREVER! When I opened the box and saw this & Fire in there, I just about died!


Fire by Kristin Cashore

My Thoughts: See above!

The Girl In The Steel Corset

The Girl In The Steel Corset by Kady Cross

My Thoughts: This is another book that I have been eyeing since before it came out. I knew from just reading the summary that I would love it so now I can’t wait to read it and find out if that’s true!


Hopeless by Colleen Hoover (e-book)

My Thoughts: Oh how this book broke my heart and then put it together again. I didn’t think I could love Colleen’s writing any more than what I did but then I read this and that all changed.

The Vincent Brothers

The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines (e-book)

My Thoughts: I LOVED The Vincent Boys so I can’t wait to see where this story leads

From Mandie:

Necklace from Mandie

Music note necklace + Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett swag

My Thoughts: I love me some Mandie <3 <3 <3 She is the absolute BEST!

From Alexa:

Bookmark from Alexa

An Easy bookmark!

My Thoughts: Alexa sent me a lovely bookmark with a quote from Easy by Tammara Webber! Thanks Alexa, I love it so much!

The Best of 2012!

2012 was an absolutely AWESOME year of books for me! I had such good look with many of the books I read. This past year I really branched out of my comfort zone as far as my reading taste goes. I slowly started to get more into the mature YA and NA books that were popping up like crazy. After having awesome luck with a few, I read as many as I could fit in. I also began seeing some of my blogging friends dipping their toes into the world of adult books and since I trust their opinions with my bookish life, I decided to give it a try. Some positive reviews led me to purchase a few and falling in love with those few led me to purchasing a whole lot more and boy am I glad that I did! Out of the 85 books I was able to squeeze into 2012, I gave 5 stars to nearly 40 of those books, crazy I know!!!! Below are all the books that I loved & adored with all of my heart in 2012. Clicking the picture will lead you to the Goodreads page of that particular book unless I had the chance to review it on the blog, if so, the picture will lead you to the review!

In no certain order, the best books of 2012:

The Hunger Games  Queen of the Dead  Die For Me  Throne Of Glass

Something Like Normal  Second Chance Summer  Shade  Born Wicked

Body & Soul  The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight  My Life Next Door  The Knife and the butterfly

Dark Days  Anew  Any Other Night  Pushing The Limits

Simply Irresistible  Awkward  The Fault In Our Stars  The Vincent Boys

On Little Wings  Smart Girls Get What They Want  Slammed  Shift

Easy  Crash  Just Remember To Breathe  Charade

Dizzy  Yours To Keep  Losing It  Try Me

Wallbanger  Hopeless

Did you get a chance to read any of these titles in 2012? Did you love them as much as I did? Are there any books you would recommend to me for 2013?

In My Mailbox (46)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for book bloggers to post what they have received for review, borrowed from a friend, bought at the bookstore, or picked up at the library!

I picked up a few more e-books for my Nook this week one of which I have been insanely excited about ever since I first read the summary of it!


10 Weeks by Jolene Perry & Janna Watts

My Thoughts: This pretty little book right here was only $.99!!! I couldn’t pass up a deal like that and since I read and enjoyed one of Jolene’s other books, I thought I’d give it a shot!

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

My Thoughts: Ever since I read Ginger’s review of this book (and the whole rest of the series!) I have been dying to read it.

Dizzy by Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry

My Thoughts: I CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK!!!! I fell in love with Nyrae’s writing when I read Charade and as I said above, I really enjoyed Falling by Jolene. So you can probably guess how incredibly excited I was when I found out these two awesome authors were writing a book together!

Well that’s it for my books this week! I hope you all had a lovely book week as well & please be sure to leave your IMM/Stacking The Shelves links below so I can check them out!