Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Roving Reader

Awww, such a cute cover!
Just look how much fun she's having.
I can hear the Nutcracker soundtrack playing now....


Tallulah's Tutu
by
Marilyn Singer


What caught your eye when out and about this weekend?
Do tell!


** The Roving Reader is a MEME type feature created by yours truly to share those book covers spotted when out and about that catch your eye for one reason or another. Want to get in on the fun? You're welcome to use the MEME, just give a little credit love. Simply snap a picture of your recent find and post away! Happy reading! **



Friday, April 29, 2011

Ready, Set, ACTION: Trauma Queen by Barbara Dee


Here's hoping that your weekends are filled with nothing but fun and relaxation....and if not, you at least get a little me time.  Don't forget TODAY is the FINAL DAY to enter for your chance to win a copy of The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander with a SIGNED bookplate!  Entries accepted through midnight CST tonight (04/29/11).  Also, TOMORROW marks the end of our second contest running right now.  You're chance to win a copy of Song of the Silk Road by Mingmei Yip ends 04/30/11 so don't delay.  Just click on the links in the right hand tool bar under "Current Contests" to be whisked right to the entry pages.  Anywho, moving on....

I myself had a rare day off yesterday though I was still unable to be anywhere near a computer (darn running around...and stressful events....*grumble*) but I did manage to get in a little extra reading (whoo-HOO!).  Ironically, both books deal highly with emotional situations and display the role families play in the successful overcoming of such events for better or worse.  It got me to thinking about a title I read not so long ago that I have yet to share with you.  It came to me from the author herself, Ms. Barbara Dee.  For those that have been to my site previously, you may remember my review of another title from this author's repertoire last year (This Is Me From Now On) and while the stories are different, the positive family elements remain the same.  Ready for the "big reveal"?  Today's book of choice is....

by

Marigold Bailey wants what every other thirteen girl desires....to simply fit in.  Middle school can be a rough time for anyone growing up but for her, things are a bit complicated.  Let's see, for starters, this is her third school in the past few years and not because of her lack of academic potential either.  Her mother is a performance artist and while her acts may be entertaining to some, they are not to all (and embarrassing to a child to say the least)...and sometimes, just sometimes get a bit TOO personal.  "Actions may speak louder than words" and "names may never hurt you" but combined they can and do harm those they are aimed at....such as Mari's friend Emma and her mother.  Oh what's a parent to do when everything they try to accomplish turns out so horribly wrong?  Running away may work for the time being but uprooting your family no matter how small can be taxing on everyone especially those whose bonds of friendship are already stretched to the limit.  Will Marigold and her mother find that common thread to pull them through?  Or are mother and daughter destined to be at odds forever more?  Sounds to me like someone has a lot to learn....but who?

With an easy flowing writing style, this book falls into the "quick read" category perfect for a weekend reminder of what being a family truly means.  I saw a lot of my own mother in Ms. Bailey, ironically enough...especially in the opening scenes with Marigold's wardrobe malfunction (her mother thought it was Spirit Week making it Pajama Day and whoops....it wasn't...).  Her mother rushes to her rescue, just not quite the way Mari would have liked.  You can see that her mother sincerely loves her but in all the embarrassment of the moment her eyes are blinded to her efforts.  I think that happens a lot as we are growing up to each and every one of us.  We love our parents but we never truly appreciate them for all that they do until time passes and we can see those old situations in a new light.  Grant it, they never truly shed their embarrassing undertones, but they do help us gain a new insight into the love shared within a family. 

Aside from the mother daughter aspect of the story that takes most of the center stage, there was much more to be pondered.  On the fun side, I loved the theater aspects woven into the story.  You really got a feel of what life as a performance artist would be like...as well as learned a few fascinating techinques to try on your own time.  On a more serious note, I really appreciated the way that her friend Emma was portrayed.  Her feelings were really hurt by what happened and the fading away for a time was realistic to what might have occurred in real life should the same situation be encountered.  Often times things of this nature are glossed over for the stories sake but here it was used as a lesson to be learned from and built upon.  Also, the family structure wasn't all good nor all bad.  There was a real history of that initial spark and its being extinguished over time as well as fireworks (not always the good kind) upon future meetings.  Again, it reflected real life and makes it that much more accessible to readers as it showed love in its many forms. 

In the end, it was a heart felt story about growing up and seeing your family for all its worth not just what you want it to be.  Acceptance of all our supposed flaws for better or worse, and understanding that our parents more often than not are simply doing the best that they can.  It's not like we were born with an instruction manual you know, though I'm certain they'd love it if we were.  Some are better prepared than others, but it doesn't mean that the "free spirit" can't be the parent of your dreams.  Love goes a long way in healing those unintentional wounds caused by merely trying to get things right...as does a little understanding.


Barbara Dee

Recommended read for young readers through adults.  It touches on issues of growing up and family from a realistic point of view without an inclusion of controversial topics or language.  This book was released earlier this month from Simon & Schuster, so be on the look out for it on a bookstore shelf near you.  Review copy received courtesy of author Barbara Dee.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this inspiring author, feel free to visit her website, blog, follow along on Twitter, or check out the new VYOU site/feature where you can ask the author a question and get a VIDEO response!  (How cool is that, right?)


Until next time...have a great weekend...and happy reading!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hickey of the Beast by Isabel Kunkle

Why hello there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Thank you for making my site a stop in your busy day.


Today we have a rather unique title to feature in both story and release method.  Curious?  You should be.  It's a great story from start to finish BUT in order to reach that "finish" you're going to have to be a bit patient.  You see, this intriguing title from the great folks at Candlemark & Gleam is being released as a WEB SERIAL.  What's that you ask?  Well, it hearkens back to days of old in a format similar to those radios shows where you had to "tune in next week for the thrilling conclusion" of whatever you were listening to....but this one is in written format, or rather typed font. 

It's almost like having to wait for the next installment of your favorite book to be released....chapter by chapter.  Yep.  Chapter by chapter.  I know what you're thinking, the anticipation would kill you, right?  I bet you'd be surprised actually.  Though it's certain to take "longer" to complete, you get to enjoy each piece of the puzzle as it arrives and process what had happened versus what you think may happen next....sounds like a great way to slow down and really enjoy the book if you ask me.  Anywho, enough on the delivery process, you can learn all about that by clicking here.  Let's dive into that review now, shall we?  Today's book of choice is...

by
Isabel Kunkle

Consuela Perez, Connie for short, is about to embark on a grand adventure.  She's standing at the precipice of what could be the start of a brand new life or a fall into the pits of utter despair for TONIGHT is the night before....her first day of ninth grade.  O_O  Ahhhhhhhh!  (Oh, sorry....I shall refrain from extended dramatics...mostly...hehe.)  A time filled with excitement and those first steps into teen-dom for certain, but for Connie and the crew at Springden Academy, it's not as awkward as it could be.  You see, Connie's Mom is the "head of the school" so she's been a "school brat" for most of her life.  She knows the kids she'll be with for better or worse from her years growing up on the school grounds and that takes a bit of the edge off....until the dream. 

Now it's normal to have nightmares before big, stressful events but Connie's is a bit out there even for that.  In her dream, she and her younger brother Julio are walking into their "forbidden" living room (forbidden because of the decor and heirlooms adorning it) when all of a sudden he takes out a baseball and smashes an antique vase...or rather attempts to as all that happens is a crack appears through which bugs begin to spill out at a rapid pace.  ~creeepppyyy~ Chalking it up to day one jitters, she thinks nothing more of it...until a few nights pass and BOOM, another dream...but this time around, things are much different and much more dire for the one in the starring role. 

When events in real life begin to mirror things Connie is seeing in her dreams, she can't help but wonder what in the world is going on...and if she could be responsible for them.  As things begin to take a sinister edge, with the help of her friends, she sets out to unravel this peculiar mystery; what she discovers is well beyond anything she could have imagined.  Will she be able to stop the coming events before it's too late?  Or will Springden Academy fall victim to the unseen foe reeking havoc this semester?  One things for certain, this is turning out to be an INTERESTING first year of high school.

First things first, the cover....though it made me curious about the book, I wasn't really a fan.  It almost gave it a hokey feel and I'm afraid it might be one of those that potential readers (that aren't brilliant enough like yourselves to read more about it) brush to the side based off that alone.  Trust me....you DON'T want to ignore this one.  Beneath the outer shell is a story that is well worth it's electronic pages.  The voices of the characters are so pure and vivid....so real.  It makes you feel like you are talking with your best friend,  not reading a story (though there is nothing wrong with that....books make AWESOME friends too).  The use of parenthesises is rampant as well, which just adds to the real quality of their speech/writing patterns (...and if you're like me and LOVE using them in your own writing...like now....hehe). 

Now, I don't want to spoil it for you guys especially since it's being released bit by bit (or is that byte by byte), but I will make a few points that sprang up along my reading journey.  The book is written as a letter to Connie's friend Amanda, whom we never actually meet (which leads me to wonder if a sequel might be in order and perhaps it will be written by Amanda?  Something to ponder....).  Sounds disconcerting?  It's not actually.  It plays rather well with the story while the reason for the extended letter is explained by books end (had to laugh at the reason too, you'll see....).  For those that dislike pop culture references, sorry guys....there are a few in here but might I be so bold as to say that they only add to the fun instead of merely "dating" the story because to me, that's exactly what was accomplished.   The story itself has a supernatural aspect to it that was unique (in my reading at least) due to the twists added to the typical details we usually see in a novel like this (boarding school, students out to get one another, teachers you'd like to avoid, etc) and it definitely had the creepy part down pat yet it doesn't dwell on them so much that it creates that overkill effect.  The eventual "big reveal" that comes further down the line is certainly unexpected in its actual content but I love how the author ties it into some hidden histories which she shares with readers in lieu of us having to make a lot of assumptions. 

In short, a novel idea for a novel that is well worth a few, nay weeks of your attention as you unravel the mysteries of Springden Academy one well written chapter at a time.  Now grant it, I was lucky enough to receive a completed eBook copy for review (hehe) but rest assured, you won't be disappointed as things begin to take shape bringing you closer and closer to that final explosive conclusion.  Recommended for young adult readers of the young-mid teen variety through adults.  There are a few choice words within the book but they aren't anything that one can't hear walking down the street in a GOOD neighborhood so they shouldn't give you too much pause.

This web serial began March 15th, but it's not too late to get in on the fun.  Just click here to find out more or here to check out the first two chapters FREE!  ARC eBook received courtesy of Kate at Candlemark & Gleam.  (THANKS!)  To find out more about this unique venture as well as their other published works, be sure to check out their siteFacebook page,  or follow along on Twitter.  Trust me, you won't be sorry. 

Until next time....happy reading!




Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith

Why hello there insatiable readers!


How are you today?
Me?
Off to a late start but hey...no worries, we'll get back on track.
Anywho, enough about my schedule, let's get down to the books!

Last week we celebrated Earth WEEK full force with some of the great talents from Peachtree Publishers.  There was one particular title from the five being featured that I was lucky enough to read as well and while a review was not in the cards then, there's no time like the present.  After all, Earth day/week celebrations are really not restricted to a particular time frame...they carry a message that should be celebrated every day to help keep our planet in its prime. 

So with that in mind, I offer you today's review.  The book of choice for today is....

by
illustrated by

A simple story at its heart, but filled with the beauty of Nature, this is one book that teaches as well as entertains.  What does it teach?  Oh where to begin.  At face value, the life cycle of a seed is what greets us first.  We explore the various means by which a seed can be transported and distributed in order to continue the natural order of things.  From a gentle push from the wind to the washing effects of the rain, even the tag-a-long effect created from woodland creatures, all of these options and more come to life with each turn of the page. 

Richly illustrated pictures in earthy tones combine with the detailed (but not overly done) descriptions of each action filled scene to produce an effect one can almost hear unfolding right in front of you.  How so?  Why thanks to the insertion of such simple words as CHOMP or THUMP...in whimsical ways.  You see, they added a visual effect to these actions/sounds that not only places an emphasis on them but invites the reader (well, in my mind at least) to add a little something to those portions when reading them.  I can imagine reading this book to a group of youngsters and this would definitely have me wanting to act out those portions with either grand hand gestures or dramatic sounds....or something.  Really was a nice touch.  Anywho, back to those lessons....

Beyond the seed's life cycle, we also discover how all living things work together hand in hand in paw in raindrop to help keep our planet's natural beauty in tact.  Where could that lesson take you?  OH so many places.  You may suddenly have the urge to create a garden of your own, help tend to the plants and trees in your local park, or even simply pick up one of those white puffy flowers (you know the ones) and give the little seeds a push out into the great big world with a simple blow.  The fact of the matter is it may inspire you and yours to give Mother Nature a hand from time to time and in my book, that's good for one and all.

Recommended for readers of all ages.  The lessons shared are applicable to children and adults and the beautiful way through which they are shared both in narrative and illustrated forms is something to behold.  This book was released earlier this month so be on the look out for it on a bookstore shelf near you.

Review copy received courtesy of Peachtree Publishers.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this book as well as their complete catalog just waiting to be explored, be sure to visit their site, blog, or follow along on Twitter.  To learn a bit more about author Kathryn O. Galbraith and her insatiable reading habits, be sure to check out last week's guest post right here at SFIR.  Illustrator Wendy Anderson Halperin also granted us a look into the beauty and inspiration she finds in nature with a guest post of her own which you can find right here. 

Until next time....happy reading!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

Hi there readers!
Long time no see.
Well, okay...not really...just a long time since an actual review post so it feels like a while, but hey...we all had fun with the Earth Week promotion last week from Peachtree Publishers, now didn't we?  That's what I thought.  Anywho, back to this post....


Today we feature a debut novel from a talented writer turned author who just so happens to be celebrating a BOOK BIRTHDAY today as well.  Happy wishes for the day coming your way as another literary masterpiece hits the shelves in a store near you.  Without further adieu, may I present today's spotlighted title and book of choice....

by

How are you today?  A simple question to many, but EmilyWilson has much to consider before replying.  You see every day is a one step at a time situation.  Her marriage of so many odd years has just ended.  Her writer's block seems to have built itself into a new version of the "great wall".  Life just doesn't seem to be going her way right now, but all of that is about to change.  Funny how a simple yet well timed postcard can lead you just where you need to be....whether you know it or not.  The world works in mysterious ways, it's true, but Bainbridge Island is a world unto itself with truths yet to be uncovered and secrets laid to rest long ago...until now.  Will Emily discover pure fact or mere fiction?  Only the island knows for sure, but one thing is for certain, wood violets don't just bloom anywhere, especially at this time of year.  They are thought to appear only where true healing is needed, something this community could stand quite a bit of in so many ways.

First off, let's take a look at that cover.  Magnificent if I do say so myself.  It's subtle in the colors used which speaks to the somber moods within a good portion of the novel yet it manages to capture your heart with its simple beauty, much like the story within.  Great job on the items selected for the focus of the picture as well as the font types chosen to accentuate the title.  I love the alternating script versus print formats chosen.  Anywho, now that we've ogled the front, let's continue on our reading adventure.

The journey of the heart is a funny thing.  More often than not it is filled with twists and turns as opposed to the straight and narrow.  It can place you on the highest peaks of happiness or plunge you to depths so deep you'd be lucky to survive.  Such was the story of Esther.  Whose Esther?  Ah yes...I didn't mention her previously now did I?  Esther is a character within the story within the story.  Confusing?  Not really....once you're reading it.  You see, she plays the starring role in a particular red velvet book (or is it a journal...hmmm....) Emily stumbles upon in her Aunt Bee's house on Bainbridge Island.  It's a tale that takes place back in 1943 and if it seems to run high on the realistic emotions...there might just be a good reason for that; after all, the best stories are often inspired by what we know best....real life.

One of the first things I did upon finishing this book is sketch out a family tree of sorts.  Seriously, there are a lot of character connections to be made and I don't know about you but sometimes the character names get lost in the details.  It's true, I admit it.  With the number of books we (bloggers and avid readers....*high five* to you all) read in a year's time, my mind creates a general picture, an idea of the person if you will in order to carry the story along but sometimes the names simply get washed out with the tide.  This is one story you definitely want to have a firm grasp on who's who....trust me, it's important as it progresses.  When all is said and done, there is one character to whom most others have a tie in some form.  Who it is I shall not say, but it is unexpected to some degree.  Speaking of characters...

As I said, this is one book you'll do well to capture their images in your minds eye in order to follow the story more accurately, but most are memorable in their own way.  Emily, with her problems by the dozen and need to unlock the emotions she is holding inside.  Aunt Bee, Emily's familial relation that is open and high spirited one moment...and closed off to all requests the next.  Evelyn, the kind soul that is both a drinking buddy and bestie to Aunt Bee.  Elliot and Esther, the "star crossed lovers" of this fair tale portraying life from within the confines of the written word...and let's not forget Jack, one of Emily's potential love interests even after her opening "rejection" that greets us at the beginning of the novel.  There is one other love interest as well that she discovers is more of a blast from her past....his name is Greg.  I do have a bit of a bone to pick with this character though....

Greg was a love interest in Emily's youth and while certainly a "hottie" back then, he's matured since that time.  Is that a bad thing?  No...especially with the positive changes that he seems to have made...in some ways.  However, it's his appearance, sudden interest, and even more sudden disappearance that rattled my reading mind.  I mean he sort of just falls off the literary planet here without a trace.  Grant it, the way things end up, it's probably best for him, but it just seemed that he was written in enough to have some sort of a goodbye or see you later scene play out.  Also...the relationship built between Jack and Emily gets pretty serious rather fast.  Perhaps its just a matter of timing and for me it seemed a little off, but in the end it works for the purpose of the book.  Otherwise, thoroughly enjoyed each and every one resident of the island we had the pleasure of meeting.

As for the story, it was so much more than what I expected.  I mean the truths that are discovered are heavy enough on their own, but then you have to consider their impact on the larger scale of things and just as you've come to grips with that, BAM.  Something else comes into play.  The story within the story was very moving and when it ends about midway through the book, you are so not ready to say goodbye to the characters you've met, nor are you prepared for how the author could possibly continue the tale with so many pages left to go.  With that said, it is done remarkably well and though its absence is felt, the red velvet book served its purpose quite well.  Let's take a quick video break here....






Beautiful, wasn't it?  I don't often indulge in book trailers (something about simply allowing my mind to create the images from the words on its own) but this one does a fine job in conveying the spirit of the book without ruining any of the story elements.  Wonderfully put together.

In summary, recommended reading choice for those seeking a look at life in all its glory whether filled with sunny days, or little black rain clouds to spare.  Author Sarah Jio takes Emily's "common" plight adds a sprig of "it's not just you", swirls in a healthy dose of mystery and a mixed bag of love sure to keep you guessing til the final page has been read.  A wonderful trip awaits whomever dares to head the call of the island... will you? 

Review copy courtesy of author Sarah Jio and Plume / Penguin Books.  (THANKS!)  For more information on the author, feel free to visit her site, Facebook page, GoodReads profile, or follow along on Twitter.  Speaking of GoodReads, there is an option to win a copy of this novel open until May 10th on the site, so be sure to check it out!  To find out more about this title via the publisher or to investigate their full catalog, feel free to visit them online

Until next time...happy reading!


Taste Testing Tuesdays (75)


Good morning (or whatever time it is where you are), everyone!
Welcome to another installment of Taste Testing Tuesdays here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  Taste Testing Tuesdays was inspired by 'Teaser Tuesdays', a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading
On the menu this week...a book celebrating its bookish birthday TODAY that also happens to be stopping through my site on a blog tour this coming month.  Ready for a taste?
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
 
Nothing whatsoever grew within this curious circumference.  It was as if a perfect circle had been burned into the middle of the woods.  She had never seen anything like it before.
-- pg 55, Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky (ARC)
 
Though I've reached a point much farther along in the story, this description still brings back a little shiver.  Just why does nothing grow in this particular area?  Oh...trust me.  There is a perfectly "good" reason for that.  O_O
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR.* 

 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Until next time....happy reading!
 
 
 

Monday, April 25, 2011

In My Shopping Bag (76)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
Through her guidelines, your post does not actually have to be named the same and thus my post shall be..."In My Shopping Bag".  (just fits with the "foodie" theme a bit better in my humble opinion)
Let's take a peek inside my shopping bag this week....



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Review

The Journals of Myrth, Book 1:  How to Slay a Dragon by Bill Allen
(Review edition courtesy of Belle Books)
As soon as this one arrived, I had to delve in....and have already finished it.  Hehe.  Allow me to say that it is a grand adventure with a lot of word play that will have you in stitches....the good kind that is.




Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
(ARC courtesy of Sandee at HarperCollins)
If the cover doesn't look creepy enough and the title doesn't grab you, you should at the very least recognize the author's name.  It's the writer behind the Skeleton Creek books....so of course this adventure is going to have that interactive aspect (as in online connects...and apparantly apps according to the material) he's known for.  Scheduled release looks like November 1st...can't wait to see what this adventure holds.



-----------------------------------------------


Received
from my good friend Nayuleska

Wither by J.G. Passarella
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Twilight Saga:  The Official Illustrated Guide by Stepenie Meyers
The first came as a suggested read from my good bloggy friend Petty Witter....the second, well we've ALL heard the great things about this one, can't wait....the third, well...I HAD to get this one.  ^_^




Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. Lafevers
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
The first is book one of a series and as I love her Nathaniel Fludd books, I thought I'd give this one a try; looks promising.  The second, I just saw the movie this weekend so its arrival is pretty well timed.




The Grim Legacy by Polly Shulman
Selected this one based off a suggested read post from Bri over at BriMeetsBooks.  I must say, it DOES sound good.



----------------------------------------------------------


Won

 

Say Hello to Zorro! by Carter Goodrich
(Won via contest from Shelf-Awareness' Author Buzz and Simon & Schuster)
A SIGNED copy from the author and characters!  How cool is that?  Pretty cool if I do say so myself.  Very excited to read this adorable...I mean "intimidating" looking book (with the two adorable cuties on the front!). ^_^



 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That's it for this week (well, and last...had to tend to the earth Week goodness last time around so we skipped this post).

What did you get?
Do tell!


Until next time...happy reading!





WINNERS: Passion and Earth Week!

Hi everyone!
Time to announce a few winners of the recently ended contests here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  What a great way to start off the week...if I do say so myself.  Here we go!  The winners are....
 
# 15 - Charles Lowry
You have won your very own copy of Life Choices:  Pursuing Your Passion...
...and...
# 3 - Robin K (Intense Whisper)
You are the winner of the FIVE BOOK Peachtree Publishers 'Fins, Wing, and Other Things' prize pack!

The winners have been contacted and since they opted to include their mailing information, I don't have to vaguely promise to draw other names if I don't get a response; it's a done deal.  Special thanks to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book and Emily at Peachtree Publishers for the chance to share these titles with you, my readers...and the chance to host these giveaways.  (THANKS!)
Now if you didn't win this time, no worries...there are TWO other contests to enter running right now!  Just remember, you can't win if you don't enter ...so stay tuned.
Until next time...happy reading!
Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...
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