Blog Tour- Promo Post for Well That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail

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I admit I’ve not yet read Well That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail but just look at that cute cover. And the title! I’m very eager to read this one and find out what exactly is so very awkward.

wellthatwasawkwardWell That Was Awkward
By: Rachel Vail
Release Date: February 28th 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Summary:

Gracie has never felt like this before. One day, she suddenly can’t breathe, can’t walk, can’t anything and the reason is standing right there in front of her, all tall and weirdly good-looking: A.J.
It turns out A.J. likes not Gracie but Gracie’s beautiful best friend, Sienna. Obviously Gracie is happy for Sienna. Super happy! She helps Sienna compose the best texts, responding to A.J. s surprisingly funny and appealing texts, just as if she were Sienna. Because Gracie is fine. Always! She’s had lots of practice being the sidekick, second-best.
It s all good. Well, almost all. She’s trying.

About the Author

RachelVailRachel Vail is the award-winning author of more than 30 books for young people. As a theater lover, Rachel sees and reads as many plays as she can. Well, That Was Awkward was in part inspired by her love of the play Cyrano – another tale of secrets, wit, self-confidence, self-loathing, friendship, identity-hiding, and romance that blossoms between all the wrong people. Or does it?

Rachel lives in New York City with her husband, their two sons, and (like Gracie) a tortoise named Lightning.

You can visit her online at www.RachelVail.com or on Twitter: @rachelvailbooks

Tour Schedule

Week One
2/27 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Bookish Recipe
2/28 – YA Book Central – Excerpt
3/1 – Margie’s Must Reads – Author Guest Post
3/2 – Crafty Moms Share – Review
3/3 – Once Upon a Twilight – Guest Post
Week Two
3/6 – The Reading Nook Reviews – Author Guest Post
3/7 – ButterMyBooks – Quote Graphics
3/8 – Stories & Sweeties – Spotlight
3/9 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Author Guest Post
3/10 – My Friends Are Fiction – Spotlight

 

Blog Tour- Furthmore by Tahereh Mafi : 5 Reasons to Read

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About the Book

furthermorecoverFurthermore
By: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: August 30th 2016
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Summary:
There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other. But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit–and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice’s wits (and every limb she’s got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself–and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

5 Reasons to Read Furthermore

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  1. First off look at that cover! It is beyond beautiful and if you aren’t enticed to own it and add this beauty to your shelves I’m surprised. The colors, the illustrations- so lovely.
  2. It’s by Tahereh Mafi. Ok, this is obvious, BUT, if you’ve not read her work you might not know that she has the most unique writing style. And this book is so different than her Shatter Me series but it is incredibly quirky, beautifully vivid and addicting. I am not much of a middle grade fan but this book swept me away quickly and I was eager to continue reading.
  3. The World. This world is incredibly STRANGE. Ferenwood is a land of magic and magicusers. These folks have a regulated life and they live by rules. The main character, Alice, doesn’t exactly fit in. Half the book is set in Ferenwood and the other half in Furthermore. Furthermore is a land with rules but they aren’t ever the same here or there and everything is topsy turvy. Some parts make no sense but I loved that a paper fox was alive, you can float into the clouds and the area of Still has dangers you might not expect.
  4. Reminds me of a twisted Alice in Wonderland- I don’t know if this story idea was inspired or not but the character’s name IS Alice and she enters into a world so different than her own. Some of the whimsy and strangeness reminded me of Wonderland.
  5. Character development and relationships- I really love Alice’s story arc and also her rocky relationship with Oliver. These two are very different but more alike than other would like to admit. I think that their interactions are true to the age group and I liked how they navigated the land of Ferenwood together.

Tour Schedule:

Review of A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

ACuriousTaleoftheInBetweenA Curious Tale of the In-Between
By: Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: September 1st 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Pram Bellamy is special–she can talk to ghosts. She doesn’t have too many friends amongst the living, but that’s all right. She has her books, she has her aunts, and she has her best friend, the ghostly Felix.

Then Pram meets Clarence, a boy from school who has also lost a parent and is looking for answers. Together they arrive at the door of the mysterious Lady Savant, who promises to help. But this spiritualist knows the true nature of Pram’s power, and what she has planned is more terrifying than any ghost.

My Thoughts:
I’ve read a good amount of DeStefano’s books and A Curious Tale of the In-Between was my favorite of them all…and I’m not even a fan of middle grade fiction for the most part. This book was beautifully executed and unique.

The pacing was even and the story captivating. The characters were so likeable and I absolutely adored each of them (ghosts and human alike). I loved DeStefano’s take on ghosts and the afterlife. I thought she made such beautiful points and my favorite line of the book was,

“Death isn’t a punishment,” Pram said, repeating what Finely had told her. “It’s just what comes next.”

I recently lost my grandfather and this line was a balm to my soul. It hurts to lose those we love and the pain is a physical and emotional ache that does ease as time passes but it is always there. This line meant so much to me and really eased some of my own personal pain.

We follow Pram’s story and early on you know she’s not a typical little girl. She can see and befriend ghosts. To her, they are as much apart of her life as the elderly that she lives with in her Aunt’s home for older folks. I loved the elderly Pram was surrounded by and found them to be such a great addition to the story. Pram’s oldest friend was, Felix, a ghost. I thought the dynamic of their friendship was so sweet and beautiful. Really, you’ll be seeing the word, “beautiful, a lot because it just fits this book so well.

Pram had one living friend she meets at her first experience in school (she’d been homeschooled) named Clarence who was just as wonderful as the rest of the cast of characters. Really, each character had something unique and wonderful about them. Even the villain of the story pulled on my heart strings a teeny tiny bit (at the least she was intriguing).

Pram has lived with her aunts her whole life because her mother passed the day Pram was born. Her aunts have kept what happened exactly a secret and Pram had many questions and some guilt about what occurred with her mother. This book focused some on Pram’s discovery of her mother’s past as well as learning about the reasons why she can see and talk with ghosts.

Final Thoughts:
Even if you aren’t typically a fan of middle grade fiction you really should read A Curious Tale of the In-Between regardless. I believe this is DeStefano’s strongest work to date because of it’s ability to touch the heart and introduce characters you’ll not soon forget.

Extras:

  • I interviewed Lauren about the Internment Chronicles and A Curious Tale of the In-Between here

Review of Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

nightbirdcoverNightbird
By: Alice Hoffman
Release Date: March 10th 2015
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
“Some things could only be found in Sidwell it seemed: pink apples, black owls, and my brother, James.”

Twelve-year-old Twig’s town in the Berkshires is said to hide a winged beast, the Monster of Sidwell, and the rumors draw as many tourists as the town’s famed pink apple orchards. Twig lives in the orchard with her mysterious brother James and her reclusive mother, a baker of irresistible apple pies. Because of a family secret, an ancient curse,Twig has had to isolate herself from other kids. Then a family with two girls, Julia and Agate, moves into the cottage next door. They are descendants of the witch who put the spell on Twig’s family. But Julia turns out to be Twig’s first true friend, and her ally in trying to undo the curse and smooth the path to true love for Agate and James.

My Thoughts:
I really loved the setting that Hoffman presented in Twig’s town. It was very easy to visualize and I could smell her mom’s pies cooking as I read. Yes, that’s corny but man…the apple pie descriptions really made me hungry (thankfully there is a recipe at the end of the book). I’ve never lived in a small town myself but I could imagine how it might feel very easily through the town’s physical descriptions as well as the details about the residents. I loved that we saw things through Twig’s point of view and that she was such a lovable character.

Twig’s upbringing wasn’t typical which made her blend into the background in her town rather than stand out. I found that incredibly interesting to imagine her just slipping by. I genuinely felt sad for her though she was in a loving home- but to be such a stranger and vastly ignored? It made me a sad. But as the story progressed Twig learns about friendship and we as the reader really get to experience her coming out of her shell. It was beautifully done and wonderfully slow in its evolution.

The magical realism was such a great aspect of this book (I’ll not tell you how it’s presented because spoilers). It was handled so well that I could completely visualize all of it being real and though it was magic it didn’t feel all that unlikely.

Though I enjoyed my reading experience I will say that the twists weren’t all that surprising to me and it was fairly clear where the story was going. I’m not entirely sure how obvious things need to be for this age group–but it wasn’t that much of a mystery. Some of the pacing was a touch on the slow side but it was a meandering sort of slow rather than a boring one (if that makes any sense).

Final Thoughts:
Nightbird was a beautiful example of magical realism that had a strong and likeable main character. The pacing was slow in parts probably due to how easy it was to predict the story’s outcome. I’ll be hanging on to this one and reading it with my son when he gets a bit older.

Tuck Everlasting Blog Tour- What If You Could Live Forever?

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I’m so excited to be involved in this blog tour for Tuck Everlasting. I somehow had gone my entire life without reading this book until I got invited to participate in the 40th Anniversary Edition (on sale January 20th). I read this short yet eloquent novel in one sitting and wondered how I’d missed this for so many years. I’ve also never seen any movies based on this classic. But Rory Gilmore is in one–winning!

tuckGranted, this looks more young adult than middle grade but it’s going on my to watch list. Though Tuck Everlasting was released 40 years ago the main question Natalie Babbitt posed to readers -would you want to live forever- still resonates as strongly today as then.

If you’ve not read Tuck Everlasting here’s the summary:

Doomed to – or blessed with – eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

It took no time at all for me to answer if I’d want to partake of eternal youth and immortality

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I have never been attracted to the idea of being immortal. In my life I’ve watched my grandparents age and suffered the loss of loved ones. So much heartache and I’ve not been around all that long. I can’t fathom how it would feel to watch all of those around me pass from this world. If I had access to the fountain of youth it would be tempting to have those I love drink as well so that we can all become stagnant and not age or change. I’d not want that either. I want to change and wake up everyday a bit different. I want to experience the changes that time and natural aging produce.

Yes, if you lived forever you could watch how society changed, technology enhanced and there’s no telling what else you’d experience. I immediately think of the other immortals throughout literature and popular fiction…vampires, Highlander, the Doctor…the list goes on. Each of their stories centers around their eternal loneliness, pain and isolation. I imagine there would be highlights but nothing would make it worth it for me.

I love that Tuck Everlasting presented the eternal question of immortality and what it means to lose and love. Such a small novel packs a huge punch and is worth reading today as much as when it was written.

Tuck Everlasting 40th AnnivCover Image

Look for the Special 40th Anniversary edition
of Tuck Everlasting
including an introduction by
Wicked author Gregory Maguire
on sale January 20th

What do you think-if you had the ability to live forever would you take it?