{Blog Tour} The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C. K. Kelly Martin

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I’m so excited to be a part of The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing Tour, hosted by Giselle over at Xpresso Book Tours. Click on THIS LINK to visit other blogs on the tour!

SweetestThingThe Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin
Publication date: September 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Synopsis:

Losing weight over the summer gains Serena some popularity, but it also means discovering first-hand the pains of being a fifteen-year-old girl in a world that both sexualizes and shames young women. After narrowly avoiding exploitation in a shortlived relationship, Serena aligns with a new friend who was the victim of an explicit image that was shared at school. When Serena finds herself in a relationship with a new guy, she is surprised to find a different set of expectations. But have her previous experiences damaged her too much to make it work? As Serena struggles to find who she is as opposed to who she is expected to be, she begins sighting Devin – her older brother who disappeared months earlier.

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Giveaway (US/CAN)

A selection of YA fiction from Dancing Cat Books’ fall releases (4 books including a print copy of The Sweetest ThingYou Can Sing)

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Excerpt

I turn to see what’s behind me, expecting my heart to stop in fear. I’m positive it will be a psycho killer with a knife or some ancient horned evil, but it’s neither of those things. A version of Devin’s standing there under the bridge with me. He’s gotten so skinny that he looks like something from a medical journal. His head doesn’t sit right on his shoulders and his anorexic arms are stiff like a zombie’s. I know in an instant that he wasn’t chasing me and doesn’t mean to harm me. He doesn’t even know I’m there.

He’s gone. Lost.

I stare at the empty person in front of me and watch him walk. He thuds right by me, into the night, his eyes dull in their sockets and his face expressionless.

That’s the moment I wake up, alone in the dark missing a brother. He could be anywhere. He could be dead. I shiver and sweat at the same time, thinking about that.

Back in mid-July a jogger in Newmarket stumbled across a body near a running path in the woods. The newspaper described it as a young white male, fully clothed. My mom’s hands started shaking and my dad kept saying there was no reason for Devin to be in Newmarket, no reason. We live about an hour away from Newmarket, but I’ve never been there and I’d never heard Devin mention the place either. Like my father said, there was no reason for Devin to be in Newmarket.

Only maybe he hadn’t started out in Newmarket. He could’ve been kidnapped or gotten himself in the middle of a drug deal gone bad. Maybe he was screwing some married woman and her husband found them together and got violent. My mind raced as my mom’s hands continued to shake. You never knew with Devin. He’d become the kind of person anything could happen to.

By the time he left us, he’d already lost touch with lots of his old friends. The only people I saw him with were ones who either wouldn’t look you in the eye or would stare for too long and make you want to take a step away from them. There were random girls too — one who wouldn’t stop shouting while they were in his bedroom and who later stumbled out having forgotten to button up her jeans and another whom I caught a glimpse of him having sex with (her miniskirt hitched up and her thong around her ankles) through the wide open bathroom door before I realized what was happening and took off for Izzy’s house.

“There’s no reason at all for us to assume it could be Devin,” my dad repeated, his face pale. “This article gives next to no details. The description probably fits a million people in this country.”

My mother said we should call the Newmarket police department, and the suggestion made my dad raise his voice. “No one’s calling the police department,” he insisted. “Devin’s not a missing person. He left of his own free will. We can’t ring up police departments across the country every time we open the newspaper, for God’s sake.”

My mom scrunched up her eyebrows. “We’re talking about our son,” she said hoarsely. “If I have to call police departments across the country, I will.”

Mom snatched up the cordless and dialled information to ask for the number. Dad listened to her without offering another word of protest. The two of us sat there trying to piece together details from the half of the conversation we could hear. Mom’s fingers trembled worse than ever as she hung up. She said that the body had just been identified as a young man from Quebec but that the police wouldn’t reveal any more as the family had yet to be notified. I silently cursed my brother for making us miserable, even as relief clawed at my throat.

My mind sifts through it all again as I roll over in bed — dream Devin, missing Devin, the Devin who would’ve applauded me for calling it quits with Jacob and the one who raged at my mother, accusing her of trying to make him fat when she was only trying to get him to eat some pot roast and peas.

It makes me so sad to think about that I can hardly stand it. Does anyone bother to coax Devin to eat dinner anymore?

CKKellyAbout the Author

C.K. KELLY MARTIN’s bestselling debut novel, I Know It’s Over, was published in 2008. It was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and the sci-fi thriller, Yesterday. A graduate of the Film Studies program at York University, Martin loves good books, movies, music, web design, and Ireland. She currently resides in Oakville, Ontario.

AUTHOR LINKS
WEB | TWITTER | FACEBOOKGOODREADS

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON / BARNES & NOBLE

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{Book Review} At a loss for words, a.k.a. the aftermath of a really good book.

everything leads to youAs I sit here trying to come up with what to say about my latest read, Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour, I’m at a loss for words. In fact, I have no words. After I finished reading the book, I knew that I loved it, but I couldn’t pinpoint why I loved it. Was it the characters? The atmosphere? The cover? No idea, but once I finished I knew that one BIG reason about why I loved it was that it made me think about why I loved it.

Are you confused yet?

It’s almost bedtime here (the baby’s, not mine, though that’s debatable) so my brain functioning is probably reaching low capacity, so I’m glad that I finished this book in the afternoon. I also find it so funny that when I posted about reading this book yesterday, I mentioned the overlap of one of the characters to the TV show I fell in love with because just before I started this one, I started rereading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and thought it was funny how these two books also overlapped with one another.

(Before I get into that, I hope I’m not the only person who deliberately looks for overlaps between my past and current read — like, two characters might have the same name, or there’s a similar theme, or something happens in one book that happened in the last book. It’s like a bit of an easter egg hunt and I always get so giddy when I find something.)

In this book, Emi is a movie girl. Unlike Anna in Anna and the French Kiss, she doesn’t just watch movies, but she designs the sets for movies, which is what I loved. I’ve read books about music and dancing and everything in between, but books about art, specifically the thought that goes behind the movies I love, make me appreciate the things I watch on TV. It’s amazing how much thought goes into every little detail, how something in the background that’s just that, the background, is still something that might have taken weeks or months to find and even though most people might not notice it, it’s still there for the sake of the atmosphere of the room. It’s fascinating.

I personally have NO skill at doing this. I’m not one to scour garage sales and auctions in order to find that perfect piece, but Emi is. But that’s in her professional life. In her personal life, it seems that she keeps falling for the same old, same old. It takes a few wrong turns and a few right ones for her to find that beauty in imperfection.

In this story, love is both in the foreground and the background. It’s interesting to see how people are falling in love, but it’s not something that takes precedence in the story, and yet it’s the WHOLE story. In the end, it seems like it was too easy, but the journey wasn’t easy at all.

Am I making sense?

In a way, this whole book seemed to revolve around these BIG HUGE THEMES that are impossible to miss, but then there are these small subtle things, these little stories throughout the big picture. The hidden easter eggs in the room. Those gems from the auction or garage sale.

I also don’t want to point it out since Nina LaCour did a great job of not pointing it out, but this is a LGBT novel and yet it’s another thing that doesn’t seem to take over the story. It’s not about that — it just is. It was kind of nice to have such a sweet story that isn’t about struggling with being LGBT but just a story about falling in love.

The only point of criticism I have with the story is that I felt like the characters were too old for their age. It’s a young adult novel, so the characters are 18 years old, but part of me wanted them to be older, like mid- to late-twenties or something. I felt like they needed to live more life in order for their stories to be truly romantic and realistic.

But aside from that, it was a fast-paced and beautiful read. I was initially completely drawn in by the gorgeous cover (can we have more like that, please?), but in the end I really loved the whole theme of movies and design and falling in love.

Which category do you fall into — the set designer or the star of the show?

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{Book Review} The sad case of a HUGELY anticipated book that disappoints.

isla and the happily ever afterBefore I start my review for Isla and the Happily Ever After, I have to say that I still love, love, love Stephanie Perkins! Her first book, Anna and the French Kiss, is one that I could read over and over again, and don’t get me started on her book boys — Etienne and Cricket are some of the BEST book boys!

If you read Isla and loved it, you might want to skip over this review because it’s definitely not in praise of the story — even though I wanted it to be.

I had been looking forward to Isla and the Happily Ever After for a long, long time. I think that’s something that led to my disappointment as I was reading. When I read about Anna and Lola, I laughed, I cried, and I fell in love with them. There was something about Isla that was just so off for me. She didn’t seem to have any ambition, whereas Anna and Lola were full of it, and she just seemed so … down … for the majority of the story.

Then there’s Josh, who is supposed to be a swoonworthy character, but I kind of saw him as an actor, who could put on a show for whoever he was trying to impress. He didn’t have that same charm that Etienne and Cricket had, he didn’t have that same unique personality that they each had.

Was I comparing too much while reading this story? Probably, but I couldn’t help it. Stephanie Perkins’s first two books are ones that I could continuously read and read and read and when I finished this one, I just didn’t feel the same way. I didn’t want to revisit Isla’s world again because honestly? It just depressed me.

Even if I didn’t enjoy the characters, I would’ve loved to say that the story redeemed itself, but it just lacked the focus that the first two books had. The whole book was just about two people — two sexually charged teens — who just want to get together to get it on, basically. I thought it was a story that dragged on, mainly because everything happens right at the start. Isla loves Josh for her entire life and then they get together. There was just no build up that made me want these two people to get together because once I got to know them, I just didn’t like them at all.

There was also a lack of humour in the story. Again with the comparisons, but I found myself laughing out loud so much while reading about Anna or Lola. They were both so quirky and funny that they made me want to just keep reading. But Isla? There was not a lot of humour, at least nothing to make me bust a gut, and she was just kind of a ‘meh’ character the whole time.

And lastly, there’s the scenery. We’re back in Paris! We go to Barcelona! But instead of feeling like I was right there with the characters in the story, it was just a bunch of name dropping of locations. The atmosphere was just lost on me.

I’m sad to say, but this was just such a disappointment for me. I wanted to love it. I wanted to swoon. I wanted to fall in love. And in the end, I feel like it was the pretty colours of the cover that I loved the most and that was it. I know I had read somewhere that when Stephanie Perkins wrote the first two books in this series, she wrote it during the pressure of NaNoWriMo. Maybe the fun of writing those stories in such a short amount of time is what led to their charm? Maybe she mulled over this one for too long of a time? I guess we’ll see what the next book holds.

Have you read this book? Have you ever highly anticipated a story and been disappointed? 

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