Monday, December 31, 2012

The Landing by John Herrick


Hi guys!
Welcome back to the final edition of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…






…for 2012 that is.  ^_^  What…you didn’t think I’d be checking out on you now did you?  Pfft!  As if!  I love this place TOO much from the books to the friendships to the sharing, learning, and exploration of new worlds together.  I couldn’t quit now if I tried…or at least without some seriously shark infested waters lurking below.  *looks for sharks*  Nope, don’t see any so you’re stuck with me for another year.

Before we get a bit nostalgic, I would like to remind you of THREE contests still going right now on the site.  ONE ENDS TONIGHT…and the other two will remain to help usher in the new year…but the only way to have a chance at winning is to enter SOOOooo, you know what to do, right?  Get your entries in post haste…and spreading the word would be OH-so-appreciated as well.  ^_^  Moving forward...


So, I don’t know about your TBR pile…mountain…country…universe…but mine is rather large complete with those books I’ve agreed to review, those random arrivals that look too good to pass up and my own additions.  It’s a busy reading world after all don’t you know!  Problem is, sometimes schedules can get a bit tight and things get pushed or nudged here or there.  If your book was part of a nudge at any point, my sincere apologies; I try to schedule things out enough but what can I say…I’m not prefect.  For those that are still on the 2012 roster, no worries…your “day in the sun” (on SFIR at least) is still coming; for those signed up for 2013, looking forward to featuring your and/or your work.  It’s gonna be a great year reading/sharing wise…ooh buddy!  But before we jump too far into the future (anyway else have stores in their area already “pimping” not only their Valentine’s Day wares but St. Patrick’s Day and dare I say it…Easter?  Yeah…mine too… *-*), let’s reflect on our past with a book that has its characters in much the same situation.

Today’s spotlight shines on the second work from an author I featured back in…whoa, 2010 (seems like only yesterday) that was actually his first work completed.  Confused?  Allow me to explain.  You see, he penned THIS book first but it was actually his SECOND novel (From the Dead) that hit bookstore shelves as an introduction to his writing…which in my opinion, having read both works, actually worked out pretty well.  But I digress, his latest release (in short format) boils down to this…a work of Fiction that definitely comes from the heart that will have readers examining their own pasts for connections dropped along the way, and give them yet another reason to appreciate the power of both the written word and music itself.  The long format, well, let’s introduce it first shall we?  Today’s book of choice and 2012 close out review is awarded to…


By

About the book…
When songwriter Danny escaped to the Atlantic coast seven years ago, he laid to rest his unrequited affection for childhood friend Meghan Harting. Their communication faded with yesterday and their lives have become deadlocked. Now Danny, haunted by an inner stronghold and determined to win Meghan back, must create a masterpiece and battle for the heart of the only woman who understands his music. As memories resurface, Danny and Meghan embark on parallel journeys of self-discovery-and a collision course to seal their mutual fate.


Truth be told…I had a HARD time getting into this book; in fact, it took me a good 50 pages to really get into the story.  Why?  That’s a question I pondered myself.  Part of me says it was because I had just gotten a cold (which I’m just now hitting the tail end on…thank you very much!) and so my concentration was a little less than usual; part of me quipped that I was stretched a bit too thin between work 1, work 2, the holidays, and life in general (whew!) so tiredness may have been played a key…but, and it is a rather small “but” at that, a tiny voice in my mind also said that I felt a bit of disconnect from the characters in the very beginning and that traipsing back and forth between the past and present was a good part of that. 

You see the chapters alternate between our lead characters; their lives, their interactions in their younger days and where they stand in current times…and if you can belief it, it’s not next to each other as one might have presumed.  Nope, as with many friends…even those with GREAT potential to be more than friends…they grew apart and life swept them in different directions.  Be it by choice or by fate, the distance grew in miles…but never really settled in at heart…and THAT my friends is what brought me back to the story.  After the first 50 pages or so, I found the rhythm within the pages, felt the notes in higher keys reverberate off my heart and was glad I committed to the story with both feet. 

Danny is a soul that I would love to know; kind, generous, content to be in the presence of those he cares for without even speaking a word and yet able and willing to express his feelings openly (and eloquently as his songs are rather moving).  He loves many with the purest of intentions but holds a few closer to his heart and once there, you’ll more than likely remain for the rest of your days.  He didn’t choose the easiest path in life and I’m not going to say that he’d be first in line to slay a dragon for any random person (himself included), but if you need him and he calls you friend, he’ll be there in a hurry.  All the emotions he carries with him, all the beautiful sunsets and new beginnings he sees in the world come through poetically in both his lyric and song….something his childhood friend and love interest Megan discovers, eventually.

Meghan.  She is a hard heart to get to know.  How so?  She’s not cold or callous, goodness no, but she’s been dealt a hand in life that isn’t lined with golden bricks and her self-esteem, her self-worth has taken a blow.  Is it going to hold her back from the life, the love she truly deserves?  That remains to be seen….or rather read by you (I’m not spoiling it for you!)…but it has been said (and sung) that “to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” and that is DEFINITELY the case here though their window of opportunity is closing fast!  (Trust me, you’ll have your heart in your hand as you wait to see if things pan out for this seemingly fated pair…)

In the end, I’d sum things up by saying it’s a novel that starts off slow but has an irrepressible beat that can’t be ignored.  It tugs at the heart strings while wrapping its melody around you until the book you thought you stepped into is something much more than you anticipated.  The beauty of the times, the majesty of the moments, even the stillness of their hearts is all communicated wonderfully from page to mental picture.  I’d still suggest readers embark on his prior release first (my review of which can be seen right here as well as an interview with the author) to get your feet wet in the world of this author, but much like the “B-Side” of a cassette or the second disc in a greatest hits collection, the want of a second journey is inevitable. 

Author John Herrick
Review copy received courtesy of author John Herrick.  (THANKS!)  For more information about this title as well as his past (and future!) works, be sure to visit his official website, friend him on GoodReads, like him on Facebook or follow along on Twitter.  This book was released earlier this year and should be available now on a bookstore shelf near you.  Need help locating it?  No worries!  Just click HERE.

Until next year (hehe)…wishing you the happiest of new year’s…and happy reading!



Friday, December 28, 2012

CHANGE starts with YOU...




…should old acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind;
Should old acquaintance be forgot…

…not just a song lyric, but a rather GOOD question and one I’d like to pose to you today.

Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place that you come to when you seek a new reading suggestion but also a little something to chew on as well.  So, what say you, dear readers?  Should the past be merely forgotten like so many droplets off a duck’s back?  Should it be held onto for dear life until it chokes our futures out of existence?  Or should it be learned from, grown from and moved on from?  Is there really a correct answer here at all?  There is actually…but the one you view as “correct” all depends on your life experiences. 

Today we are looking at the darker places of our world; those that we try to hide away from prying eyes because they shame us in some way when in reality, NO ONE is perfect and EVERYONE has something they’d wish was different about themselves or their lives.  It’s a Young Adult work of Fiction that could easily be reality for some…sad but true.  Without further ado, today’s hard hitting book of choice is…




14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance
By
Rhoda Belleza

About the book
It does not necessarily take a fist to create a punch in the gut. This fourteen-story YA fiction anthology delves into the experience of being bullied—socially, emotionally, physically, psychologically, and sexually. The school hallways, walks home, and house walls are no longer the boundaries for intimidation and harassment. With the rapid-fire response time of social media and smartphones, bullying has lost all limits, and the lines among truth, lies, and real accountability have become blurred. Featuring some of the hottest voices in YA literature, both bestselling and on the rise, Cornered includes works from Kirsten Miller (New York Times bestseller The Eternal Ones), Jennifer Brown (Hate List), Elizabeth Miles (Fury), Jaime Adoff (The Death of Jayson Porter), Lish McBride (Morris Award finalist Hold Me Closer, Necromancer), Matthue Roth (Losers), Sheba Karim (Skunk Girl), Kate Ellison (Butterfly Clues), Zeta Elliot (A Wish After Midnight), Josh Berk (The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin), and James Lecesne (Absolute Brightness and founder of the Trevor Project).



Perhaps the easiest way to sum up my read of this novel is to take a look at my GoodReads status updates for parts 1 through 7 …the rest, I’ll recollect my feelings at the time.  Here goes…



First story down...so glad she was able to overcome what happened to her in order to help others.

Second story...1st impressions are important but not always right. We can't simply trust our eyes blindly. .we must use our hearts as well.

Third story...hard pressed to feel bad for him after what he had done but at the same time, I'd have hoped she grew more than that.

Fourth story..it's reading things like this that make me appreciate flying under the "cool" radar in school. *shakes head*

Fifth story…unusual but freeing just the same.

Sixth story...I get it, but I don't. *torn* Such contrast between the two girls and their situations and yet they were able to relate to the others hard times equally so.

Seventh story...that was one of the hardest to read. ~shudders~ Such cruelty... we discover where the pent up anger came from down the line but my goodness, the poor kid!


Eighth story...glad he sorta got what was coming to him. Seen teacher issues like that before...gives a bad name to a good lot of people.

Ninth story…this was another one dealing with stereotypes and pre-conceived notions about society.  It made it hard for the friends to STAY friends as one sought “more power” the easy way instead of earning it.

Tenth story…a more artsy take on how harsh we can be towards one another, owning up to ones mistakes and paying the price we charged.  It also addresses keeping an open mind and accepting others for who they are, not who we wish them to be.

Eleventh story…this one hits all too close to home as I bet it will for many young girls. *hugs*  I definitely value Chloe’s strength even if she doesn’t view it that way.

Twelfth story…a sad reality for many youth’s especially in disadvantaged areas, but it doesn’t HAVE to be that way.

Thirteenth story…a surprising turn of events as the chased realizes they were viewed as a chaser. 

Fourteenth story…I was a bit confused by this one, or at least how Brooke became a ghost, but nonetheless intrigued by how they expressed themselves and achieved the upper hand.




Really this one is a mixed bag but the common thread as denoted by the title is “bullying and defiance”.  One thing I noticed though is that sometimes the very people being bullied turned the tables on the bully-ers…and yet became bully’s themselves.  It’s a fine line between seeking an end to the torture inflicted by another and becoming the thing you are fighting against…so fine in fact that I’m not even certain I’m qualified enough to determine where one ends and one begins; I’ll have to let my morals do the deciding there.  Not sure what I mean?  You’ll see when you delve into this collection.  You can’t help but take a moment of joy, a brief smile time when the one that carried out the aggression's gets a taste of their own medicine…but at the same time, you also can’t help but see how “tit-for-tat” tactics are not going to but an end to anything; merely aid them in sustaining life beyond the current victim.  Something to think about indeed, and something to remember the next time you have the urge to pick on someone else or witness same said events transpiring…

In conclusion, a hard read indeed but one that comes with a reminder of why phrases like “can’t we all just get along” aren’t as corny as they sound.  There is a lot of harshness going around in the world today…and I do mean A LOT.  Can we stop it all by our lonesome?  No, they’d be unrealistic.  Can we make a dent in the problem?  YOU BET!  How?  First, by making a concerted effort to NOT spread rumors, gossip, suppositions and the like; after all they may contain a kernel of truth or none at all, do you really want to be the one responsible for someone else’s bad day?  Second, by standing up for your fellow man…and woman; take a cue from the “What Would You Do?” show…which crowd reactions are you supporting more?  Those that stand by and let it all happen, or those that get safely in the mix of things to defend their fellow human’s rights?  Finally, by sharing our own experiences with each other; THIS is the kind of “word-of-mouth” that’s HELPFUL.  It can help heal old wounds, prevent new ones and creates a support network for those in need.  All you have to do is decide to be the HELPING hand not the hurtful mouth…

Recommended read for teen readers and beyond; the content can be hard to digest but it may also help to unlock some doors for those needing a way to broach the situations they themselves might be in with others.  Review copy received courtesy of Seta at Running Press.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their complete catalog, be sure to visit them online, like them on Facebook or follow along on Twitter.  This book was released earlier this year so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf near you.  Not able to jet to the store right this moment?  Seek thee out the online retailer of your choice.

Until next time...and happy reading!



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Anteater-Boy by Dean Ammerman


Hi guys!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place to be when the holidays have surrounded you with friends, family, food…and of course, great reads!  Why?  Because…we’ll help you whittle down the list from “oh-my-gosh-which-do-I-choose” to “totally-manageable”…even if we do add another title or two along the way ^_^.

Today’s book is one of several recent reads that falls into the Young Adult category, starring a male lead character.  Yep.  I’ve had a rash of them recently; strange when a lot of this groups voices tend to be female but AWESOME for expanding that list of titles you have at the ready for male readers (not that girls can’t read them…case in point…but guys tend to have a harder time sometimes finding books they relate more fully, you know?).  Anywho…the one I am featuring today had me in a quandary for quite a while.  How so?  Well, I could NOT for the life of me figure out what the title had to do with the book, and even after Aurora’s quick explanation in the opening chapters, I had to keep reminding myself when I’d stumble upon this random ponder once again.  For me, it was a bit of a stumbling block but my fair readers don’t let it be yours because the read is certainly worth the fall.  Today’s book of choice is…


Anteater-Boy
By
Dean Ammerman

About the book
The school year is coming to an end and high school freshman Zak Dale wants a summer job to earn some money. His fish-eyed science teacher, Dr. Cyrus B. Fletcher, has a job opening but wants Zak to clean the science classroom, improve his grades, and deliver an award-winning speech to get it.
 As Zak tries to prove he’s the best person for the summer job, he helps his best friend Miles search for the holy grail of junk food, falls in love with the beautiful and mysterious Mia Holmes, locates his missing grandmother, neglects his bladder-challenged dachshund, and takes a journey through the American Revolution with Darius Brown, his substitute history teacher.



Basically it’s a story about those perceived to be at the low end of the totem pole we call “high school” and how fabulous it can be to consider that the only direction to go is UP.

Zak (with no C) is a curious lad though you’d probably pass him by in your random hallway trudge.  He’s not a stand out drawing attention to himself.  He’s not a jock scoring the winning touchdown, goal, point or what have you in any team sport.  He’s not even the top honors winning student in his classes.  He’s just…him; an average “Joe” looking to make the best of his teenage years with a few close friends, possibly the girl of his dreams, and a killer summer job if he plays his cards right (or is Mr. Fletcher isn’t just using him, which I’m pretty sure he is…).  One, maybe two outta three ain’t bad, right?  Though down in the mouth about his own abilities, I admired Zak for his never-give-up attitude and the gumption to take a stand for the injustices that he sees…even if asking for a little help or considering the consequences of his actions never really crosses his mind.  He has a heart of gold and ideals to match making him a great friend, a great PERSON indeed.  Now on to our next mark maker…Mr. Darius Brown…

Ha!  I bet you thought I was going to mention his friend Miles who creates a science project presentation that blows the lid off the junk food industry (even if its deployment does turn stomachs a bit) or Aurora who’s acidic quips could melt the paint off a Volkswagon (sorry girl but really…lose the tude!), but no…I’m going with Mr. Darius Brown.  Who is he?  The short answer…their substitute History teacher; long answer…someone who in a very short time makes a BIG impression on these young minds.  How so?  He makes them THINK.  He CHALLENGES them to consider things bigger than themselves and reconsider those things that have been spoon fed to them.  Do I agree with EVERYTHING he taught?  No…as Mrs. Lincoln wasn’t really “trival” when all is said and done, at least in my book…but guess what?  Did you ever expect a YA Lit book to make you think about things like that?  Betcha didn’t…and neither did I…and that’s my point exactly. 

It takes a teacher like this to draw the thinkers out of a class, the ones that may not have considered themselves in that category ever before in their lives.  Taking things OUTSIDE the box can reveal a myriad of connections that weren’t easily seen before making it easier for those that were previously struggling to create that chain of recognition and understanding.  It opens a whole new world of discussions to be had, points to ruminate on and injustices to right…and whether your world is freshman year of high school or the wide wide spaces of the free realm, there’s much to be learned and much more to conquer.

In conclusion, you’ll laugh, shake your head in disbelief, marvel at the surprise turn of events and root for several characters as their cool factor rockets up the charts.  In other words, this book will take you places familiar and make you consider things you’ve never dreamed all whilst providing you with personable characters, realistic situations and edible gray matter…which I definitely DON’T recommend eating (~eww, but definitely creative~).  It reminds us that throughout the course of our lives we’re going to go through a lot of changes physically, mentally and emotionally…and the growing doesn’t end with our school years.  It’s a continual process, something that we should be thankful for because it allows us to be the best “us” we can be; to rise above the herd so to speak.  If we get it wrong the first time, there may be harm done, it’s true but we are extended a second chance to make things right with the dawning of a new day, the turning of the hour, even the ticking of the seconds hand on the wall clock of your mind.  The important thing is to learn from our mistakes, to not allow history to repeat itself and to surround ourselves with those we can count on. 

Review copy received courtesy of author Dean Ammerman.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, feel free to visit the book website, like it on Facebook or check it out over on GoodReads.  To pick up a copy for yourself, seek thee out a local bookstore or online retail outlet of your choice…a few to get you started:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble.  Recommended read for young adult readers and beyond.  Oh and we have it on the author’s word that no anteaters were harmed in the writing of this book…whew! (^_^)

Until next time…happy reading!



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Taste Testing Tuesdays...on a Wednesday!





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. 

This post is usually seen on a Tuesday, hence the name, but let's blame this week's delay on the holiday, shall we?  ^_^

On the menu this week...a book that I sampled last week but as of yet, hadn't had a moment to crack the spine.  Bad Insatiable Reader...I know, but let's let bygones be bygones and get to sharing now shall we?  ^_^


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



The Landing
by


With books strewn in assorted piles across the living room floor, Brian sorted through the contents of one bookcase while the other begged for his attention.  He and Meghan had stuffed both beyond capacity with novels and textbooks collected over the years.
-- 88 pg



Hmm, sound like anyone you know?
~whistles~
^_^




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





Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

*Grab your current read 

*Open to a random page 

*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (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 Lists if they like your teasers! 





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




Until next time....happy reading!

Drum roll please...


Hi everyone!
Time to announce the winner of a contest that recently ended here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  This time around you had a chance to win an ecopy of XII: GENESIS by Jason Rowe and Brian Palmer!  Now, for the winning name....drum roll please.....


 
Courtney at Stiletto Storytime 
*and the crowd erupts with enthusiastic cheers*
Congratulations!
I hope you enjoy book one of what seems to be a promising new YA lit series and stop back by to share your thoughts on the read! Special thanks to the authors for the opportunity to share this book with you, my readers. (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as the forth coming series, feel free to visit the official website or follow along on Twitter.
Now if you didn't win this time, no worries...there's more chances still open on the site now and even more still to come.  Just keep an eye on the right hand sidebar for all the updates and remember, you can't win if you don't enter.
Until next time...happy reading!








Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday Tidings!


The weather outside MAY be frightful...


...but the holiday reading IS delightful!

Wishing you and yours a magical holiday filled with love, laughter, and memories to cherish always.


^_^


Monday, December 24, 2012

Not Just for the Naughty: The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket


Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers...the place that would have not a creature stirring today if it weren't for BOTH jobs turning yours truly into Bob Cratchit (or perhaps Bobbi Cratchit).  *humbug*

Yes, yes...work is "as usual" today, but that doesn't mean YOUR day has to be so with that being said I wish you and yours a VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY indeed....and with good reading in mind, I would like to first REMIND YOU that there are SEVERAL contests going on right now (one of which ends TONIGHT...eek!) so be sure to check out the right hand sidebar before you leave today...and second, share with you a recent read of my own.  This wasn't in the review stack but it made its way there when it caught my attention in our local bookstore.  I had seen it previously and been curious but had yet to pick up a copy...until now.  Copy picked, read and enjoyed 30 some pages later and I'm ready to share my thoughts...and though it may not sound like a good pairing for the holiday, it IS in fact a holiday story!  Today's book of choice is...


by
Lemony Snicket
Art by
Brett Helquist

He's just a lump of coal...or so the casual observer might believe, but inside he's an artist and he's bursting at the seams of his classy little three piece suit to share his brilliance with the world.  But really, who's going to give a lump of coal a chance anywhere other than a barbecue pit?  Who indeed...

This is the story of one ambitious briquette  several strange turns of events and one parent who thought their child more naughty than nice.  Our Mr. Coal is not deterred by the ignorant minds he encounters but instead keeps his eyes on the prize...even if it is second place he feels he is settling for in the end.  Is it in fact second place?  Well, that would be spoiling the story for you and I wouldn't want to do that my friend, but let's just say that finding coal in your stocking this year may not be such a BAD thing.  It all depends on your point of view, your perception if you will.  It can either mean you were VERY naughty and dear old Santa couldn't be bothered with making a gift for you...or perhaps he saw something in you that needed igniting.  At any rate, a story good for the young and the youngish...nuff said.

Review copy purchased from my local bookstore.  ^_^  Feel free to snag a copy to call your own this holiday season or any other day of the year!  To find out more about this story as well as other unusual imaginative and yet often unsettling stories, seek out author Lemony Snicket's official website...where I'm told you can even send an eCard featuring our little lump this holiday season!

Until next time...HAPPY HOLIDAYS...and happy reading!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Totes perf read for your inner...FANGIRL by Ken Baker


Hi there!
Welcome back to the Sunday edition of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  Today we are making our home in the realm of Young Adult fiction but looking at the fangirlish side of things.  That’s right.  Grab your old T-shirt of NKOTB, BSB or other boy band (or solo act) sensation, and get your vocal chords primed because we’ve been invited to THE EVENT of the year…and how else will your star crush know you exist?  How else indeed.  Today’s book of choice is…


Fangirl
By

About the book…
Fourteen-year-old Josie Brant is a straight A-student from Bakersfield, CA, who falls hard for the dreamy pop superstar Peter Maxx. An aspiring song lyricist, she is thrust into the spotlight when her lyrics win a contest sponsored by her celebrity crush. A whirlwind romance via Tweets, IMs, texts and secret phone calls ensues as Josie gets swept up in the chaotic world of a teen heartthrob, but life is not quite as pitch-perfect as the fantasy she’d been dreaming up this whole time.





Okay, I admit it.  I did NOT initially like this book.  Nope.  Bare bones truth.  Don’t get me wrong, Josie was a sweet girl with a #perf #bestie that was totes cool but yeah…you see all that lingo and hashtag-gage going on there?  That’s not even the HALF of what’s in the book.  They are so “teenage girl” that they even have their own language aka abbreviated communication system.  *-*  Maybe it’s the adult in me (then again, maybe not) but it was initially #drivingmeupawall (oh noz! It’s contagious! Just kidding…)…but, as with all books I take on, I pushed through the less-than-ideal aspects in search of that silver lining; thank goodness it wasn’t illusive this time!  In fact, once uncovered, it was so SHINY it blinded me to my previous thoughts (mostly) and left something new in its wake; an appreciation for the story as a whole.

The basics of the book are this….girl crushes on teen pop star, attends concert as self and gets noticed.  Notice is good as both are equally interested even if they have to keep it on the down low.  Distance, time, commitments and public image rear their ugly head to the point of destroying almost everything they’ve created…almost.  Truth trumps falsities in the end (though whose truth and whose lies will remain a secret…hey, I don’t want to spoil it for you, you know?) and people are left to live their lives somewhat happily ever after.  It’s not a fairytale and it’s certainly not about perfect people.  It’s about the difference between the self we present to the public and the self that we truly are.  It’s about the journey we each face to discover the real us whether we are Joe Blow from Kokomo or celebrity stars awaiting our induction into the Hall of Fame.

For me, the story was good, but the characters are what truly soared in my eyes; the variety amongst the cast and the truth in which they were presented.  Take Josie for example, she’s book smart, a talented lyricist and though shy to some degree, confident enough to be herself…most of the time anyway.  I love that she doesn’t dress to impress others but rather herself and that she’s noticed irregardless by her “idol”.  Just goes to show you that it’s not just what’s outside but what we radiate from within that goes into our overall appearance and appeal.  Then there’s Ashley, Josie’s “friend”…a term I use quite loosely actually after what goes down.  Let’s just say I get it, parental units have the final say in friendships but sticking up for them when you know it’s right can go A LONG WAY in helping that decision be steered correctly. 

Keeping with the friend theme, let us not forget Christopher whose story arc was certainly a surprise.  I could’ve sworn I knew where things were headed for him (and someone else) but then, BAM…surprise turn of events.  (Good one, Mr. Baker!)  Next we have D, the next door neighbor supposed “bad influence” and forever ride giver to Josie who…as it turns out, isn’t really quite as badda** as she’s made out to be.  There’s another side to her as there is to most people, and this side even recommends books like Harry Potter (though she did diss my Twilight series…*glares*)!  Gotta give her props for that at least…and for trying to keep Josie on the straight and narrow.  Now we step into the limelight…

Peter Maxx…what to say about you.  You’re a conundrum to some degree because I equal parts want to like you and smack you upside the head.  How you could be so blind to what was happening is crazy with a capital “C” and the extremes to which you fly off the handle make me wish you could slip into a pair of cement shoes if only for a moment.  Then again, side two of you is rather charming and without the swagger of the princely image you uphold; your geekish tendencies are endearing.  So yes, I sum you up as a conundrum…and you should count yourself lucky Josie was the one you were seeking forgiveness from because me, pfft!  Um, no…or at least not nearly as fast as your reprieve from the dog house was granted.

In the end, it’s a story that most girls will have experienced to some degree in their lives with a wish –upon-a-star granted in a most unconventional and unexpected way.  It will have you cheering with the fans, leering with the mobs, and hoping against hope that someone will please come to their senses and knock this boy down a few pegs but it will also remind you that the struggles we face are not merely celebrity or non-celebrity…but HUMAN.  We are all seeking to find the real us and present it front and center.  That kind of truth requires strength both from within and from our circles of support.  Be the “you” you wish to be and help someone else to discover their true self.  It’s the lesson of a lifetime but one well worth the journey.

Review copy courtesy of Suzanne at Running Press.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their complete catalog, be sure to check out their official site.  Curious to learn more about the author behind the book?  Well…as it turns out, Mr. Ken Baker is E! Entertainment Television’s Chief News Correspondent. Ken has interviewed and reported on just about every major pop star in the world—all of whom he proudly has on his playlist. He lives (and writes) in Hermosa Beach, California. …and can be reached via his official website, Facebook or Twitter!  This book was released October 2012 via Running Press, an imprint of Perseus Books and should be available now on a bookstore shelf near you. (Oh and for those of you wondering about the title of this post...totes = totally, perf = perfect.  ^_^)

Until next time…happy reading!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

READ ALL ABOUT IT: Julia Dweck & Kite Readers support the Sandy Hook School Fund

ATTENTION READERS!
This is a public service announcement...
(in my eyes at least)


...in light of the recent events that have had the world's eyes locked on Newtown, CT, the SANDY HOOK SCHOOL FUND was created with United Way to provide support services to the families that have been affected.


Donations can be mailed to:

Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street
Newtown CT 06470
...or submitted online here.


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In this spirit of giving, children's author Julia Dweck has joined forces with Kite Readers for a SPECIAL ONE DAY ONLY EVENT!



TODAY ONLY


...download ANY of Ms. Dweck's titles on Amazon (the list of which can be seen by clicking HERE) and her portion of the profits will be donated directly to the SANDY HOOK SCHOOL FUND.  Inspired by her efforts, several of the illustrators she's worked with are following suit...and every little bit helps.



So, friends, readers, those whom I know and those who are only just discovering my site for the first time, sift through her collection of works and make a purchase that will not only further your reading enjoyment but touch the lives of those affected by this most recent tragedy.



Until next time...SPREAD THE WORD...and happy reading.


Friday, December 21, 2012

The Secret Sense of Wildflower by Susan Gabriel




Dear Readers,

Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place that feed your need to read with a hearty scoop of bookish goodness every day of the week.  I was actually pondering which book to feature today as I have a few that are in need of reviews, when I noticed a common thread.  Though it may be the most wonderful time of the year, the books I’ve recently read have been for the most part anything but holly-jolly; in fact, most of them have dealt with far darker things in life than I’d ever wish for any of you to encounter.  How strange for it to be practically Christmas and have a reading/to-review list that strays from the norm….then again, perhaps not.

The world today is an odd cookie overall and while these reads haven’t been steeped in steaming cups of cocoa with little marshmallows or chestnuts roasting over open fires, they have been INCREDIBLE reads.  The writing has been sound; the story’s riveting…some so much in fact that by book’s end they completely turned my initial impressions from one of “meh” to one of “wow”.  So, it is with a blustery holiday wish that I wish you the merriest of seasons and invite you to continue to explore the world of reading around us no matter what tradition may dictate for after all…you never know where your next favorite read will come from.

Sincerely (and with holiday hugs),

Gina
(aka the Insatiable Reader)




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So my friends and fellow readers, shall we delve right into today’s selection?  I think so…I mean, you’ve already been prepped and readied for the experience, so why not.  I promise, though it’s not brimming with candy canes, it definitely makes an impression.  Without further ado, today’s book of choice is…


The Secret Sense of Wildflower
By

About the book….
Set in 1940s Appalachia, The Secret Sense of Wildflower tells the story of Louisa May “Wildflower” McAllister whose life has been shaped around the recent death of her beloved father in a sawmill accident. While her mother hardens in her grief, Wildflower and her three sisters must cope with their loss themselves, as well as with the demands of daily survival. Despite these hardships, Wildflower has a resilience that is forged with humor, a love of the land, and an endless supply of questions to God, who she isn't so sure she agrees with. When Johnny Monroe, the town’s teenage ne’er-do-well, sets his sights on Wildflower, she must draw on the strength of her relations, both living and dead, to deal with his threat.



WARNING:  Though the synopsis speaks of loss and questions for a higher power, there is much more that occupies a large portion of this story.  This book is not for the kiddos as it deals with harsh topics best left to older eyes and minds.  That being said though, a warning should also be issued to all other readers because this story will move you as it twists and turns and eventually connects the dots left behind whilst developing into a work more than worth the read.  Yes…it’s THAT good.

Louisa May’s (aka Wildflower) story is told in three parts, the first of which allows us a glimpse of current times.  A family still grieving for the loss of one of their own, a town divided between those that have and those that have not, the intelligence of man in question as well as his morals…and the voices of children silenced for fear of repercussion and shame.  It’s a hard start with equally hard scenes of a lost soul’s blackness on display for one and all.  The lost soul is Johnny Monroe…but don’t feel too bad for him, the time for that will (okay, might…in some fashion) come later; among the voices silenced is none other than our little Wildflower. 

I don’t quite know what to say about the whole situation that unfolds except that it’s NOT Wildflower’s fault in the least.  She is a kind soul that merely sought the understanding of the one person who always “got” her and had left this earth prematurely…her father (RIP). Was she not allowed to grieve in her own way?  To process the loss and the changes that occurred in those around her in her own time and space?  I certainly believe so and the dark mark that now stains her present and alters her future because of the lack of humanity, the absence of decency one being had for another is atrocious…the bed they made with fate is well laid; the ending, deserved.  But I’m jumping tracks here…

The second part of the story recollects events as they transpired one year earlier, a reflection of happier times but also an escape from the callous acts at hand.  Hard to imagine that something worse was in store for this family than losing a beloved Father but life is full of surprises…for better or worse.  We learn how cherished Wildflower’s Daddy was to this household of women as his wife and two other daughters deal with the fallout of one ill-fated day.   We see how despite her tender age, Wildflower understands much more than even she can believe, though her mind is trying to protect her heart from the full brunt of things.  We also discover that her “secret sense”, that gut feeling (perhaps something a little more with Wildflower) that tells us something is off was working overtime even if she didn’t understand it at the time.  Does that make all of this her fault?  Again, no…but it does go into forming the opinion she has of herself and her role in things.

Part three, we are whisked back to the present and placed on a path of vindication and protectiveness.  There are things in this world that are far worse than a bear in the woods, things that know not right from wrong…or rather choose not to know because of how ugly their own upbringing was.  Does it excuse the crimes they commit?  Hardly. Does it make us question who else the blame should belong to?  Definitely.  Wildflower doesn’t wilt as so many would when facing the horrors she’s seen (and understandably so), but rather draws on the strength instilled in her by her Father, her sisters and her Mother to force a victory on the side of good and forge a new beginning where one needn't exist before.  An example to us all is Wildflower…

Though this story belongs mostly to Louisa May, the rest of her family both close and extended play important rolls as well; thus my review would feel incomplete if I did not mention them in passing at the very least.  Daniel is a wise soul and the brother, friend, even Father figure that one could only hope to know at some point in our lives.  Wildflower’s sisters couldn’t be more different than one another, or even than her for that matter and yet they share more than they know in resilience of spirit and thoughtful depths.  Aunt Sadie is a free spirit in mind, heart and actions.  She is the one that taught Louisa May about the “secret sense” as she has it herself and she’s also the one that she feels closest to, most able to share her wandering thoughts and feelings.  Even when times are darkest, she reaches out to the one that was connected by blood to her Father…an earthly connection to the loving heart she’s missing.  Now her Mama is another story.  She’s a hard woman to know in both acquaintance and depth.  How so?  Well, for most of the story she is merely correcting Wildflower and scolding her, even blaming her to some degree…and then, things change.  I can’t say how, why, or even when…but they do and you get to see a small peek of the feeling woman beneath the hardened exterior. 

In the end, I found the story completely enveloping.  You laughed when the characters laughed, grieved when they grieved and sought happier places when the ugliness of the world presented itself front and center.  In some ways it reminded me of the infamous TKAMB; perhaps because of the young narrator and the strong voice with which she was blessed, perhaps because of the time and setting used, or perhaps simply because it was that striking of a work.  Whatever the reason, it left its mark on me and for that I can only extend my thanks to the author with sincerity from the bottom of my heart.  It may not be the holiday read you were seeking nor a story of rainbows and butterflies that will set your imagination free, but what it is…is a masterpiece; plain, simple, and resilient like the flowers the young lead is named for.
Author Susan Gabriel

Review copy received courtesy of author Susan Gabriel.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as her other works, be sure to visit her official site, check out her blog, like her on Facebook, pin her on Pinterest, or follow along on Twitter.  This book is available now so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf near you.

Until next time…happy reading!




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