Monday, March 30, 2015

New Book: Hometown Girls – Beginnings by Tressa Messenger & GIVEAWAY

I'm excited to be part of a book blast for a Tressa Messenger's latest book, Hometown Girls - Beginnings. As part of her book release, Tressa is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Woo-hoo! Enter on the Rafflecopter below and be sure to come back and let me know you thought of the book. I can't wait to read it - and can I seriously get some more hours in the day for reading?! So many books, so little time!

hometown tour banner
hometown girlLife for Marissa Lou was great. She was a popular senior in high school with great friends and an even greater boyfriend. She was on top of the world. That was until she made the greatest sacrifice of her life. Daniel and Katie both loved Marissa Lou but neither of them could deny the intensity of their growing affection for one another, no matter how hard they tried to fight it. Being the selfless person she was, Marissa Lou gave Katie and Daniel her permission to date. Little did she know it would be the first day of a hellish nightmare. One where, in her depression, she falls from grace and gets mixed up in a life she never would have expected. With a growing addiction she fights to right everything that went so wrong, but will it be too late? Buy on Amazon | Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publications

About the author:

tressa-2Tressa Messenger grew up in a very small town in Eastern North Carolina called Reelsboro in a coastal county called Pamlico. Being as it was such a small area Tressa developed an immense imagination at a young age. That is where she harnessed her love for writing. To date Tressa lives in New Orleans Louisiana with her husband, daughter and an assortment of critters.   As a young writer Tressa has overcome adversity of Dyslexia and continues to exceed expectations.

Follow Tressa: FaceBook | Twitter | Website

  The author is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card in celebration of the new release! Giveaway ends April 12th at 11:59 EST. Open World Wide. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 28, 2015

TBR Pile Challenge: I'll Give You the Sun Read Along: 1st Discussion

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Published: September 11, 2014 by Dial
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, LGBT

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell 

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world. 

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

First Discussion Questions

1) How do you feel about the narration style? Was Noah's artistic voice hard to get used to? What about Jude's?

It took me a couple of Noah's references to seeing people's auras or some such to get that this was his artistic voice. And then Jude with her ghosts. I like it though now that I'm into the book more.

2) Between the two siblings/story lines, which one is you favorite?

Noah's actually. But at this point in the book it may because I'm still a bit bitter toward Jude about art school (not yet knowing the story there, of course, but still).

3) What are you feeling regarding the family dynamics: We have twins, a mom and dad, and a deceased grandmother. Noah believes his dad favors his sister and his mother favors him. Noah seems to favor his mom.

I suspect that this dynamic is a bit true in all families - merely magnified in this family due to the artistic minds, deaths in the family, etc.

4) All siblings have a bit of sibling rivalry between them? What sort of things did you and your siblings compete about? What is as serious and Jude and Noah or more playful competition?

My one sibling is ten years older than me and we are SO different. I don't recall a rivalry, but as the overachiever younger child, I can't speak for my sister. She may have felt it more than me. I was the straight A student, she was the one who was good with her hands (mechanical stuff, etc.). I could see where she might resent my grades or something. But I never sensed it in our relationship. I think the big age gap makes our relationship different than most siblings though.

5) Thus far, what has been one of your favorite scenes from the novel?

When Jude is spying on Guillermo sculpting. The author does a remarkable job of telling the intimacy of both Guillermo lost in his work and Jude lost in watching him.

Monday, March 16, 2015

REVIEW: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Release Date: May 30, 2013

Publisher's Description:

Meet the Cooke family. Our narrator is Rosemary Cooke. As a child, she never stopped talking; as a young woman, she has wrapped herself in silence: the silence of intentional forgetting, of protective cover. Something happened, something so awful she has buried it in the recesses of her mind.

Now her adored older brother is a fugitive, wanted by the FBI for domestic terrorism. And her once lively mother is a shell of her former self, her clever and imperious father now a distant, brooding man.

And Fern, Rosemary’s beloved sister, her accomplice in all their childhood mischief? Fern’s is a fate the family, in all their innocence, could never have imagined.

First, I highly recommend NOT reading the book jacket on this before diving in. I received this recommendation and it helped with the "surprise" in the book a lot. 

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is narrated in the first person by Rosemary Cooke. She starts her tale in the middle of the story and then proceeds to tell the whole story in chunks and pieces from various vantage points along the timeline. The story revolves around the missing sister, Fern, and how each family member, particularly Rosemary and her brother Lowell, deals with the circumstances and aftermath of Fern's absence. 

In the end, many of Rosemary's memories are shown to be misconceptions once she finally talks to her mother about Fern. I wish the author had gone into more detail about this. Instead, it felt swept away in an offhand comment when I thought the ideas presented there warranted more detail and more exploration. I suspect that the author's treatment of these revelations were to keep consistent with Rosemary's first person, internal narration. She spends a fair amount of time talking about types of memories and the way people form memories as part of the plot of the book. I can see where someone faced with knowledge that their version of events was inaccurate would choose to sweep away that knowledge rather than have to revisit and reexamine their memories. I get that the author needed to keep with the first person narrative. Understanding all that, I still would have liked to see some more reexamination since some of the information was SO different from Rosemary's recollection. Personally, at the time this new information was revealed to Rosemary, I think she was in a place where she would have reexamined her own memories but, for whatever reason, the author left that out. 

I didn't love the book. I didn't hate the book. There were several anachronisms in the book I found distracting. She mentions having a bread machine on the counter in 1979 - bread machines were invented in Japan in 1986. She mentions there being a picture of her as a small child with her father carrying her in a Baby Bjorn. The first baby carrier made by that company wasn't made until 1973 and it wasn't called a Baby Bjorn. And for all the psychology terms she used, she then messes up a grade school life science fact. Rats aren't nocturnal. They are crepuscular or even diurnal. They tend to adjust their own sleeping schedule to be in sync with their human companions. (Says the owner of two pet rats who are fat, lazy little critters who sleep ALL night... and a good bit of the day).  Will I let little things like this mess up my overall enjoyment of a book... yes, yes, I will - if I don't otherwise love the book. I didn't otherwise love this book. 

I did love one quote I found in the book and I am not much one for saving quotes from books (To Kill a Mockingbird aside).  "Kindergarten is all about learning which parts of you are welcome at school and which are not".  How true. How true.