On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (Excerpt & Giveaway)

July 20, 2012 Blog Tour, Book Excerpt, Giveaway 5

Hello! Welcome to my stop along the On the Island virtual blog tour, hosted by AToMR Tours.

You might remember back in March when I participated in another blog tour for this book (also with AToMR). Of course, I adored it, and have been shouting its praises from the rooftops for months now.

Since then, On the Island has taken the world by storm. 5-Star reviews went up all over the Internet, and the book gained a lot of publicity. Plume (an imprint of Penguin) snatched this book up, gave it a new cover, and re-published it! MGM has even bought the movie rights! During all of this, Tracey has become a great friend of mine, and I am SO excited for her. When I saw the opportunity to participate in another blog event for her book, I jumped at it immediately.

Make sure you read the book excerpt (haha. I was assigned one of my favorites!), and enter the giveaway to win one of ten signed copies of On the Island after this event announcement!

Here’s what you can expect throughout the tour. It sounds like so much fun!

  • In addition to reviews and promotional/celebratory posts, keep an eye out for key words in a special scavenger hunt! Select blogs will be hosting one word from two of Tracey’s favorite book quotes (one from each of the main characters in the book: Anna and TJ). Visit each stop and collect the words (they will be numbered, and I have Anna’s quote, word #6 at the end of the excerpt!). After July 22nd, submit your answers here. Random entrants will be selected to win books and swag. Those winners will be chosen and notified by July 29th.
  • On Monday, July 23rd, at 8:00 PM come join us as we live chat with the author on Savor Chat. You can sign in there with your Twitter or Facebook information.
  • Be sure to follow the Twitter hashtag, #ontheisland, to see random shout-outs to win books and swag. (@Tale_of_Reviews)
  • On the Island has been available in bookstores, both brick and mortar and online, since July 10th. If you happen to see it “in the wild”, take a picture and tweet it using the event hashtag (#ontheisland), or post it to Facebook). Make sure you also submit those tweets/posts here.

On the Island Book Excerpt

We were eating lunch when a chicken walked out of the woods.
“Anna, look behind you.”
She turned around. “What the heck?”
We watched as the chicken came closer. It pecked the ground, not in any kind of hurry.
“There was one more after all,” I said.
“Yeah, the stupid one,” Anna pointed out. “Although it’s the last one standing, so it’s done something right.” It came right up to Anna and she said, “Oh, hi. Do you not know what we did to the rest of your kind?” It tilted its head and looked up at her as if it were trying to figure out what she said. My mouth watered. I thought about the chicken dinner Anna and I would have. But then she said, “Let’s not kill this one, T.J. Let’s see if it lays eggs.”
I built a small pen. Anna picked the chicken up and put it inside. It sat down and looked at both of us like it was happy with its new house. Anna put some water in an empty coconut shell. “What do chickens eat?” she asked.
“I don’t know. You’re the teacher. You tell me.”
“I taught English. In a major metropolitan area.”
That cracked me up. “Well, I don’t know what it eats.” I bent down by the pen and said, “You better lay eggs because right now you’re just another mouth to feed, and if you don’t like coconut, breadfruit, and fish, you may not like it here.” I swear to God that chicken nodded its head. It laid an egg the next day. Anna cracked it into an empty coconut shell and scrambled it with her finger. She put the coconut shell near the flames and waited for the egg to cook. When it looked done, she divided it between us.
“This is fantastic,” Anna said.
“I know.” I finished my share in two bites. “I haven’t had a scrambled egg in so long. It tastes just like I remember.”
The chicken laid another egg two days later. “That was a good idea you had, Anna.”
“Chicken probably thinks so, too,” she said.
“You named the chicken, Chicken?”
She looked embarrassed. “When we decided not to kill it, I got attached.”
“That’s okay,” I said. “Something tells me Chicken probably likes you, too.”

Scavenger Hunt: Anna’s Quote, Word #6:
Underwear

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown (Book Review)

July 19, 2012 Book Review, Young Adult 8 ★★★★★

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown (Book Review)Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Series: Lies Beneath #1
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on June 12, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 303
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans and absorb their positive energy. Usually, they select their victims at random, but this time around, the underwater clan chooses its target for a reason: revenge. They want to kill Jason Hancock, the man they blame for their mother's death.

It's going to take a concerted effort to lure the aquaphobic Hancock onto the water. Calder's job is to gain Hancock's trust by getting close to his family. Relying on his irresistible good looks and charm, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter Lily. Easy enough, but Calder screws everything up by falling in love--just as Lily starts to suspect there's more to the monster-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined, and just as the mermaids threaten to take matters into their own hands, forcing Calder to choose between them and the girl he loves.

One thing's for sure: whatever Calder decides, the outcome won't be pretty.

I’m really loving the young adult mermaid romance trend that has been taking the book world by storm! I’d been really worried about this one, as a lot of the reviews have been mixed, but I really, really enjoyed this book. I loved so much about it. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. We have a male narrator! YES! This was so refreshing. Calder is a merman from a family of human-killing mermaids. He was not born this way, but was changed to a merman after falling off a boat and drowning as a young child. Maybe that’s why he’s a bit reformed, and hopes to escape the “school of fish” loyalty and just be his own person. I loved reading his thoughts as he struggled between being who he wanted to be and being who he was created to be. I think Brown did an amazing job writing a male’s thoughts. I’ve always thought that would be a tricky thing to do.

2. This story takes place in an awesome location: Lake Superior. That lake is so mysterious and deep and freezing, and I LOVE that the story took place here rather than in the cliche tropical location. Rather than hearing about rainbow fish and sea turtles, you get to read about sunken ships and the unexplored depths of the lake. We even get a mention of an ancient road down there.

3. I really liked the evil mermaid spin. I was getting tired of the “I wish I were human, but I have this tail, so I’m going to swim around and hope I can fake being human well enough to make you love me” storyline. These mermaids love being who they are. Even Calder does not want to quit being a merman, he just does not want to suck the life out of humans. They all have their own personalities, and don’t sit around suppressing what they are. And the evil thing? It was awesome! Mermaids are made out to be monsters and not humans. It created some suspense and intrigue. I dunno, I guess I’ve always been a bit rebellious myself, so I enjoyed the more gritty and dangerous spin.

4. I really enjoyed the need for revenge that the mermaids had. It consumed their thoughts as they tried to seek revenge on the man they blamed their mother’s death on. Even though these mermaids are considered evil, you have to give them credit for never breaking a promise, and for being extremely loyal to each other. I mean, even though Calder began to change his mind regarding this revenge, his mind was so linked with his sisters’ that he really struggled with an inner turmoil that pulled him in two very different directions.

5. I appreciated Lily’s common sense and vivaciousness. I can’t stand a dumb, quivering-in-her-boots kind of heroine. Lily has a sharp mind and she knows things without having someone beat it into her head with a hammer. And I loved her little sister, Sophie. She is adorable.

6. The Hancock family’s past is vast and dynamic. I loved getting more insight into what happened to make these mermaids so mad, and what mysteries are hidden beneath the surface.

7. The romance was sweet. It was not obsessive or silly. It seemed legit to me. Calder and Lily look out for one another, and have a healthy give and take relationship. Calder is not controlling or stalkery. I mean yes, he lurks in the water outside her home to protect her, but he’s not sneaking in her room to watch her sleep. Lily is not helpless and naive. She can hold her own, and does not frighten easily. I believed this one.

8. I wish the book had spent a little more time on Calder’s sisters. Those girls were so much fun to read about, and they were really what made the book so unique. Hopefully the rest of the trilogy will give us more information on them. They could have their own spin-off series.

All in all, this book is now one of my new favorite mermaid romances. I loved the unique spin, the believable romance, and the interesting characters. I would definitely recommend this for lovers of mermaid books, and it’s also a great one to start on if you’re just dipping your toe into the genre.

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Dark Light (Ronald McDonald House Fundraiser Spotlight)

July 18, 2012 Blog Tour, Giveaway 5

I am so happy to be participating in this blog tour to help raise money for the Ronald McDonald House! Here’s the story behind this project. Oh, and make sure to enter the giveaway for a Kindle at the bottom of this post!

Carl Hose and his wife, Marcee, went through a very trying time during the pregnancy and birth of their daughter, Ireland Joy Hose. Complications arose during the development of their baby, so Carl’s wife was scheduled for a C-section just over two weeks before her due date. Normally, this is completely fine. Well, Ireland wanted to come six weeks early instead. The doctors could not stop Marcee’s contractions, and she started bleeding profusely. Ireland came out fine, but very tiny. Marcee had to have a hysterectomy if she wanted to survive. She pushed through and survived the surgery, regardless of all the blood loss. After the birth, Ireland was moved to the NICU at a different hospital than her mother, which was much further away. Carl and Marcee decided that Carl should move to be with Ireland. However, that meant leaving his wife alone during a very emotional and painful time. After much coaxing from the hospital staff, Carl moved into the Ronald McDonald House. Miraculously, Marcee joined him there the next day. She should not have been able to walk. They spent the next 3 weeks living in there, visiting their baby and watching her gain her strength and recover from coming into this world so early. Their entire family is doing so well today.

Ronald McDonald House played a huge part in this family’s happiness. They provided a place to live, food to eat, gifts, and even Valentine cards. They did not have to travel to see Ireland, nor did they have to sleep in her NICU room. They had a comfortable place close by where they could heal from this trauma together. RMH does this same thing for thousands of other families every year, and they do it solely from donations. Carl and Marcee are so grateful for the help that they received, that they want to give something back to the Ronald McDonald House. Here’s what they did:

Dark Light is the light that shines through when some of the finest writers in horror use the power of their words for something good. That’s the case with this anthology—42 writers coming together to help support the Ronald McDonald House Charities and all the good the organization does for families every day of the year.

Make no mistake, though. These are horror writers and the stories they’ve written are not pretty. Traditional and non-traditional horror, dark humor, ghosts, serial killers, alternate universes, magic, zombies, and other creatures of the night hide between these pages. Shadows move and dead fingers stroke unsuspecting flesh, razor sharp knives shimmer in the moonlight, and unknown things hide in closets and under the bed. The stories here are as varied as the writers themselves. If you’re a fan of horror, you will not be let down.

Despite the horrific nature of these tales, however, their very existence in Dark Light stands as proof there will always be a light at the end of every tunnel.

Turn the lights down low and enjoy the show.

Dark Light will be available in all digital formats, plus the printed version will be available wherever books are sold online, as well as in some brick and mortar stores. No matter where you buy it, the money goes to RMH. I think this is a wonderful way to make a difference, and I’m so happy I was contacted to help with this project!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other stops on this tour for reviews of the book, guest posts, and book excerpts.  (Scroll through the list of current tours to get to the button for this tour, where all the stops are listed underneath.)

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Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson (Mini Book Review)

July 17, 2012 Book Review, Young Adult 9

Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson (Mini Book Review)Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
Series: Flirting in Italian #1
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on June 12, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
0 Stars
Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!

Ok, guys… This just might be the biggest disappointment of the summer. I was SO excited when I found out about this book, and even more excited when I found out I was approved for it on Netgalley. Seriously. I was in a local creperie, and I might have made a smallish scene when I checked my e-mail and saw that I could download it. At that time, I was about to leave for Italy myself, and I love themed reads! I never got around to it while on my trip, though, but I still thought it would be fun to read it as I reminisced.

The summary on the back of the book tells very little about what happens in the story. Violet is our main girl, and she finds out about a centuries old painting that looks just like her. It’s in Italy, so she figures out a way to get herself there as part of a program that is basically finishing school for Italian girls. Her neurotic, overbearing, and borderline insane mother about has a flip-out session, but lets her go. She gets to spend the summer at a house in Tuscany with 3 really stuck up girls (another English person, and two Americans) and some rude Italian girls… and gets in too deep with a playboy, all while searching to find out whether or not she was adopted, and who this doppelganger was.

So… within the first 50 pages of the book, I almost gave up. I love art history so much, so I was really excited with the mystery posed at the beginning of the book, about the heroine’s doppelganger in a centuries old painting. And I love Italy, and was enjoying reading all about the scenery, and the Tuscan countryside. I’ve been to Pisa, so I know what it looks like in that area. It was fun to reminisce. And then the girls showed up. First off, the American girls are made out to be materialistic valley girls, and I was embarrassed. They act so dumb, snobby, rich, and entitled. I hope the author does not believe we’re really like that.

And then the high school mentality set in. These four girls are terrible (well, one of them was not so bad, but it was only because she was so insecure that she couldn’t be cocky)! They constantly think about how someone is fat, or that shade of green makes her skin look putrid, or “thank goodness I have been self tanning for a while”, or how the blonde has nothing between her ears, etc. The bullying and rude thoughts are so annoying! And Violet, our main character is exactly the person who made my life miserable in school. She’s rude, cocky, gossipy, and downright mean! I mean, come ON. I thought we were supposed to like the main character. Why should we stick with the book if we don’t? I had no interest in reading such rude thoughts and mindless gossip and backbiting. The mystery at the beginning of the book fades away, and it turns into one big mess of rude, unintelligent girls partying and hanging out with the guys you’re, as a general rule of thumb, supposed to avoid. The main love interest, Luca, looks down his nose at Violet, and comes off as being a bit of a lunatic. Violet realizes this, but goes back and forth from loving him and hating him. It was just weird. There’s no real character development, and I cared about nobody.

The book is all partying. It’s like spring break in Cancun in book form. Violet’s mission to go to Italy to find out about herself is completely forgotten. Towards the end of the book, another mystery (which ends up being very unrealistic) surfaces, but honestly, it’s too little too late. The book was already unsalvageable at that point, so trying to make up for that by adding in a mystery that is seriously hard to believe, does more harm than good.

AND… there’s a companion novel. So… crud! Haha. The ending was just a mess! I suffered through it only to be told that I have to read another book if I want to know what happens. I put the book down wondering why I wasted the time on it, and I have no interest to read the next book.

I loved the idea. LOVED it. And I know that it could have been done so much better. I’m so disappointed in it! I’d heard it was in the vein of Anna in the French Kiss. Heck. No. To be honest, I feel a little deceived with that marketing statement. I’m going to tell you right now to not bother with this one. There are many better choices out there.

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Cecilia Gray’s Writing Do’s (Author Guest Post)

July 16, 2012 Blog Tour, Guest Post 1

Cecilia Gray lives in Oakland where she reads, writes and breaks for food. She has written 7 books, the most recent of which (Fall for You) is the beginning of the young adult contemporary romance series, Jane Austen Academy. Two of her other novels: A Delightful Arrangement (The Gentlemen Next Door #1) and An Illicit Engagement (The Gentlemen Next Door #2) have spent time on several romance bestsellers lists in Spain, Italy, the UK, and the USA.

I’m delighted to have Cecilia here today to discuss some writing tips as part of the AToMR tour celebrating her newest book, Fall for You.

 

Dieting has never worked for me. The second you tell me what I can’t eat, it’s all I can think about is eating it. No carbs? I’ll eat a pizza. No fat? I want bacon.

The same is true of writing. Don’t tell me what I can’t do. I’ll want to do it. No starting a story with a dream? I’ll give my heroine a 300-page nightmare.

Instead, I’d rather focus on should I should be doing.

I should be eating more vegetables and lentils. I should be going organic. I should be eating nonfat yogurt.

Here are my writing “you-shoulds”:

  • You should draw the reader in by posing a question.

    I don’t mean an obvious question-with-a-question mark. I mean a sentence that begs a question, any question.I was listening to the new Maroon 5 song and the first line is, “I’m at a payphone trying to call home all of the change I spent on you.” The sentence brings up all kinds of questions. Who is he trying to call? Why is he trying to call them? Where in sweet hell did he find a payphone? Even though I know nothing about the situation in the song, I sympathize with the singer, because he’s desperately trying to reach someone and I know the feeling.Your first sentence should engage the reader to question what is happening, and more improtantly, to care about what is happening.

  • You should force the reader to set their own stage.

This is a fancy way of saying show don’t tell, and the reason it works because it switches the reader from reading passively to reading actively, and if a reader is more actively drawn into a story, they have more stakes in the outcome.

“She was sad” says less than “She fought the sting of tears at the corners of her eyes.” (Apologies for both sentences being pretty lame….)

Both beg the question, why is she crying. But the second also makes you realize she doesn’t want to be crying, that she is desperate not to cry, which adds depth and dimension to her emotional state.

  • You should invite the reader to complete their own story.

Consider the following endings (my apologies for any spoilers):

–    Life of Pi when the veracity of Pi’s story is thrown into doubt and you must decide whether he was really in a boat with a tiger or a man who murders his mother
    The ending of Inception when you must decide whether the hero has found happiness with his family or is trapped in a coma
–    Before Sunrise or Before Sunset when you have to decide whether the couple will stay together – and whether it’s the right decision
–    The Giver when you must decide what journey the hero takes
These stories have powerful endings precisely because their resolution depends on the reader.

This doesn’t absolve you of telling a satisfying story, but consider whether the satisfaction really comes from  tying up every loose end. Is there a thread better left untold? Is there a question you want to leave for your reader?

All three Do’s have one thing in common: reader engagement. Each Do is a way of waking up your reader, forcing your reader to read deeper, asking your reader to care more, think more, do more.
Getting your reader to do more is more work for you, but if you’re stressing about it – you could always eat a pizza.

Thanks, Cecilia! Stop by the tour schedule and visit the other tour stops to read reviews of Fall for You, more guest posts, book excerpts, and other cool things!

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Showcase Sunday (#2)

July 15, 2012 Showcase Sunday 7

Showcase Sunday is hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea. We get to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received, borrowed, bought, and downloaded!

 

 

Books Received:
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
(From Julia’s 2-year blogoversary giveaway)

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
(Because Kimberly accidentally got an extra for the SLC Dark Days signing, and was sweet to give it to me!)

Every Day by David Levithan
(From Netgalley)

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Why I Didn’t Finish It… #1

July 12, 2012 Why I Didn't Finish It 3

Hi! So… this is my least favorite feature here at That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s where I discuss why certain books just weren’t for me. I don’t feel right reviewing a book if I have not read every single page of it. At the same time, though, I want to be able to justify why I chose to leave it behind. I do my very best to never do this, but sometimes I end up deciding that it would be more fair to myself, as well as the author, if I just quit trying! So here are my two cents!

Q: A Novel by Evan Mandery
I love a quirky novel, but this one was just too quirky. I mean, about 3 whole pages were spent describing a game of miniature golf. It just didn’t grab me, and I really didn’t care what happened. I loved the idea of the book. The publisher’s blurb made it sound much more up my alley. When I received it and read the summary, it sounded like a completely different book. If I had read this summary, I would not have accepted it because I would have known immediately that it was not my cup of tea. I gave it an honest try anyway, but in the end I just couldn’t stay with it.

Candle in the Window by Christina Dodd
Very shortly into this book I realized I had accidentally come across a book that could be classified as erotica. The summary on the back of the book sounded like a nice historical romance, but there was nothing to the story except for sexytimes. Nothing. It was just all about some big, tough macho man raping this blind woman everyday and then she fell in love with him and they got married. I got that out of the first two chapters. I guess I learned a valuable lesson with this one: never buy a book on a cruise ship!

Pure by Julianna Baggott
I know… So many people love this one! I felt extremely guilty about not finishing this one. I was going through some rough things in my life when I started this one, and it depressed me. It’s probably the most disturbing dystopian I’ve read. The world has been demolished by atomic bombs, and when those bombs went off the items people were holding became a part of their body. So the main girl has a doll face for a hand. Now, everyone is required to either join the militia or sign up to be a live target if they are too damaged from the bombs. It was upsetting!

How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donahue
I loved the idea of this book… two estranged friends get together to open a cupcakery. It sounded adorable! I just couldn’t climb on board. The book hardly had any dialogue and was full of entire page-length paragraphs of details.

Lockdown: Escape from Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith
So… I don’t have problems with dark reads, but this one was TOO dark. I guess I’m just really sensitive, or extremely squeamish. The idea sounded amazing, and I know that many many people love Alexander’s series. I just could not finish it! I did give it to my dad, who enjoyed it, but further confirmed that I made the right decision. Haha!

Ok, so those are my DNFs as of yet. Have you read any of these? Do you agree? Should I try again? Let me know your thoughts! What does it take for you to DNF a book? How much time do you give it before you throw in the towel?

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Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs (Book Review)

July 11, 2012 Book Review, Young Adult 2

Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs (Book Review)Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs
Series: Tempest #2
Also in this series: Tempest Rising, Tempest Revealed
Published by Walker Children's on June 5, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
Tempest Maguire is happy with her decision to embrace her mermaid nature and live among her mother’s clan within the ocean’s depths. Even though training to one day ascend the throne for the aging mermaid queen is rigorous, she finds refuge in the arms of Kona, the selkie who first opened her up to her mermaid side. But when word comes that one of her brothers has been gravely injured on land, Tempest immediately rushes to his side—which also brings her back to her old flame, Mark. And in her absence, a deadly battle begins raging at the hands of Tempest’s old nemesis, the sea witch Tiamat. As the dangerous war erupts, Tempest’s two loves—Kona and Mark, sea and land—will collide for the first time, both to protect her and to force her to choose.

So… I have ranted numerous times about how the middle book of a trilogy is usually pointless, boring, and frustrating. OH MAN. This is not so with Tempest Unleashed. The book lives up to its name, as Tracy unleashes the insanity. I mean, I was on the edge of my proverbial seat, flipping through this book as quickly as I possibly could. To be honest, it’s better than the first one. SO much better. And I’ll warn you right now, if you have not read Tempest Rising, the first book in this trilogy, this review will spoil that book for you. If you’re interested in an exciting mermaid story, definitely go check out my review of book one, and see if it sounds like something you would enjoy. Anyway, onto my review of book two! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Like I said, this book is much better than the first one. That’s so rare! It was more exiting, though, and the bulk of the book took place under the water this time. We got to learn more about Tempest, her family, and her gifts.

2. I love mermaid books because I really enjoy reading about underwater scenes and worlds. The descriptions were glorious.

3. The writing was very pretty, and I can see major growth and development in Tracey’s writing since the first book.

4. Tracy’s imagination is amazing! She came up with the craziest looking creatures. I’m not sure if she did a ton of mythological research, or if she made these up on their own. Regardless, they were fascinating. Also, the descriptions of Tempest’s powers were enormous, and so detailed! I found myself flying through these smoothly-written passages, eager to devour every single word faster than my brain wanted me to.

5. Tempest has grown up a little, and has this sense of responsibility and duty. She’s so much more mature now, and I liked her a lot more. She wasn’t selfish at all this time, thought through every decision carefully, and was so brave. I’m so happy to see this new change in her. And I really love how she treats her family. She’s so motherly and caring. I really like Tempest.

6. Kona got much less likeable. He’s not this sweet, swoon-worthy guy in my eyes anymore. He’s grumpy, controlling, pushy, lacks compassion and sensitivity, and has major anger management issues. I’d be scared of him if I were Tempest. Every once in a while, the old Kona would shine through, but I’m thinking his true colors are opposite of what I thought about him from the first book. I don’t like him anymore!

7. Mark is still sweet, but now he’s passionate and giving as well. He’s amazing, and I found myself switching my loyalties from one male in the love triangle to the other, which I almost never do. Mark is willing to give anything, do anything, sacrifice anything for Tempest. She’s a mermaid, and he’s not, but he’s willing to commit to her anyway. Kona has never said anything like that. And the passion with him is so much more fiery than what Tempest has with Kona. I actually love that Tracy did this. I love that she changed my mind. I mean, I loved Kona. LOVED him. And now I love Mark instead. Tracey had me feeling the way Tempest was feeling, which is the sign of a truly wonderful author.

8. That ending was pure insanity! I loved it! There was so much build up to an amazing climax that had me staying up so much later than I had planned. I can’t wait for the next book.

Really, you just need to read this. I have never had such a change of heart from book one to book two in a trilogy like this. I wasn’t even fully excited to read this after reading the first one, but I am SO glad that I did. The writing, the characters, the flow, the plot… all of it was SO much better! And if you loved the first one, just think of how much you’ll love this one! If mermaids are your thing, I think you’ll really like Tempest’s journey.

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Inner Child: Let’s Hear it for Almigal by Wendy Kupfer (Review)

July 10, 2012 Blog Tour, Children's Book Review, Inner Child 2

InnerChild

Inner Child is an original Artsy Reader Girl feature, where I take a moment to highlight a cute book for kids! I love children’s books. Hey, I started out on them! They are the foundation of my love of reading. When I need a smile, or a quick dose of the “good old days”, I never hesitate to crack open a picture book and feed my inner child.

 

Title: Let’s Hear it for Almigal
Author: Wendy Kupfer
Illustrator: Tammie Lyon
Release Date: April 16, 2012
Publisher: Handfinger Press
Format: Kindle
Source: JKSCommunications/Netgalley
Buy it Here: Amazon (Used copies available Amazon Marketplace.) or Here for brand new copies from the book’s website.
Add It: Goodreads

This fun and original picture book introduces Almigal, a spunky little girl with hearing loss who is now determined to hear every single sound in the universe thanks to her new cotton candy pink cochlear implants. These sounds include a baby’s funny giggle, the robin’s chirps outside the window, the soft song played during ballet class, and especially her best friend Chloe’s teeny-tiny voice. But most of all, Almigal wants to hear her parents whisper to her when they tuck her into bed every night. Almigal’s spirit will have both children and parents alike rooting for her, while the story delivers a positive message about accepting and celebrating differences.

This book is pretty darling. From what I could tell, the illustrations are gorgeous. I read this on my Kindle, so all the illustrations were tiny and in grey and white, but I could see that the lines were soft, the images whimsical,  and from the cover, I can tell that the colors are vibrant and girly.

Let’s Hear it for Almigal does a great job at explaining that every person is different in their own way. Some speak Spanish, some have little voices, some wear glasses, some have twin sisters, and some are deaf like Almigal. Almigal embraces the fact that she is deaf, and needs hearing aides. She loves being different, and even changed her name from Ali to Almigal, because nobody else has that name. What a great heroine to look up to. Even at my age, I feel weird if I’m different. Embrace it! It’s empowering. Still, though, being different can make you sad sometimes. Almigal struggles with this, making her relatable for almost every child out there.

This book also teaches responsibility. Almigal’s cochlear implants are expensive, and she is taught that they must be taken care of. The same idea goes for children who get glasses for the first time.

Finally, it teaches children that being deaf is not a problem. In fact, it’s kind of cool because you get special little implements that help you hear. And they come in all different colors. Again, this goes for anything: glasses, braces, casts, wheelchairs, etc. Even though the book focuses on a deaf child, the example can be applied to any situation where a child is different.

I definitely enjoyed this story, and think it would be great for children who deal with deafness, whether it be with themselves, a family member, a friend, or a classmate. Moreover, it teaches children that being different is cool. And you know what? Sometimes we adults need to remember that, too. I can just see myself reading this book to a class of mine, and then listing out all the cool ways people are different. Some role-playing might even be fun.

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Showcase Sunday (#1) – ALA, Birthday, & Review Books Edition

July 8, 2012 Showcase Sunday 12

Showcase Sunday is hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea. We get to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received, borrowed, bought, and downloaded!
Hello! June was a HUGE book month for me, and I had absolutely no time to film a vlog until now! So, this SS encompasses all the books I received or bought at ALA, books I got from my friends and family for my birthday, and other books I was sent for review over the last month-month and a half. It’s kind of a lot… And I’m sorry, but I tried to film a vlog 3-4 times and decided today is just not my day! So, here is a picture. Below, I categorized what came from where. :)

Review books (ALA & in the mail):

What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Hidden by Sophie Jordan (Firelight #3)
Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman
The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
Prodigy by Marie Lu (Legend #2)
The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Lucid by Adrienne Stoltz and Ron Bass
Over You by Emma McLaughlin
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
Auracle by Gina Rosati
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Beautiful Lies by Jessica Warman
Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
Starling by Lesley Livingston
A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends by Stacy Bierlein
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez
Witch World by Christopher Pike
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlet
Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter (Goddess Test #2)
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Switched by Amanda Hocking
Legacy by Cayla Kluver

Signed books from ALA:

Origin by Jessica Khoury
Beta by Rachel Cohn (Beta #1)
Adaptation by Malinda Lo
Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
The Summer of No Regrets by Katherine Grace Bond
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #2)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #2)
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
False Memory by Dan Krokos
Silver by Talia Vance
After Hello by Lisa Mangum
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (Fire and Thorns #2)
Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler

Purchased books:

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Signed at Fierce Reads Tour)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Signed at Fierce Reads Tour)
Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (Signed at Fierce Reads Tour)
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (Signed at ALA)
In Honor by Jessi Kirby (Signed at ALA)
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas (Signed at ALA)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor (Signed at ALA)
Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti (Signed at ALA)

Books I won:

Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom – From Some Like it Paranormal
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler (Signed) – From a Book and a Latte

Books I received as gifts:

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (Fire and Thorns #1) – From Daisy
The Chronicles of Narnia books 1-7 by C.S. Lewis (B&N Leatherbound) – From Kimberly

So, what did you get? Link me, and I’ll come visit!

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