BEA Week

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Hey y’all!
Once my flight leaves (6:41 p.m., y’all), I’ll officially be in New York City for BookExpo America this week. For those of you who haven’t seen my incessant posting about it, BEA is the largest publishing conference in North America and I’m lucky enough to be able to go for the second time (the first was in 2012.) If you’re perusing the blog after meeting me there, welcome! I hope you enjoy Words Like Silver!

I’m going to leave this as a sticky post – here’s where you’ll be able to find me at the conference:

MY SCHEDULE

Wednesday

My morning’s free, so I’ll be wandering around the floor and talking to people!
2:30 – Leila Sales galley drop
3:30 – Jennifer Donnelly in-booth signing (she’s written my favorite book, so I’ll likely be tongue-tied)
4:00 – Leaving Javits to go to the Simon & Schuster building
6:00 – Scholastic event

Thursday

9:30 – Alexandra Bracken galley drop/signing
9:45 – at the Algonquin booth helping set up for a galley drop
10:00 – Josephine Angelini signing
11:30 – Brandon Stanson signing
1:00 – HarlequinTeen signing (Adi Alsaid/Eleanor Herman)
3:00 – Lair of Dreams signing
3:00 – Jennifer E. Smith signing
6:00 – Chinatown for dinner!
7:30 – Meeting up with some bloggers

Friday

8:00 – Children’s Book and Author Breakfast
9:00 – Scholastic breakfast
10:30 – Leigh Bardugo signing
11:00 – Fablehaven signing
12:00 – Kissing Ted Callahan signing
12:15 – PenguinTeen lunch
2:00 – Richelle Mead signing
3:00 - Another Day signing
4:00 – The Accident Season signing

Saturday

8:30 – Bloomsbury brunch
11:30 – bridesmaids shopping (perks of having a soon-to-be-married older sis)
3:45 – plane back to Tampa

Will I see you there? Come say hi!

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#MermaidMonday Blog Tour

Hey guys!

I’m so excited today to be a stop on #MermaidMonday, a blog tour for The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler. Sarah Ockler writes such lovely contemporary, and TSoCM is completely different from anything she’s written before, which I found absolutely fascinating.

The Book

22840182Novel: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler | Goodreads
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

My Review

It took me a chapter or so to get used to the rhythm of the narrative, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Elyse was quiet, and it lent the narrative an overall flow that was relaxing. Meanwhile, her Caribbean background and feisty roots still kept the story fresh and exciting. She loved soca, and the ocean, and her family’s cocoa farm on Tobago, but retreated to her cousin’s house in Oregon after a devastating accident took everything from her.

The way Elyse wrote about her voice and the sea was spiritual in a sense that was both intoxicating and sensitive. The way she wrote about her romance was invigorating, a thorough process that slowly revealed her opening up to the people around her. Her voice itself focused heavily on poetry – on strange, beautiful connections with the world around her and the shards of her past. She’s a character I rooted for, and one that I connected with deeply.

Although by the cover and description, you’d expect the book to be mostly about romance, it’s not. It’s primarily about family – and family expectations – and Elyse coming out of her shell. Her transformation was so absolutely beautiful and she was such a memorable person to me that I was unexpectedly moved by this book. Christian helped her transformation – in a smirky, thoroughly caring way that made me affectionate towards him – but he’s not even remotely the focal point of the book.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids just takes all these elements that you never really think twice about and shoves them into the light in a poignant voice. It’s light enough for a beach read, but quietly gets under your skin. It unveils cultures I never really knew about – and the small-town-cove feel we’re familiar with in contemporary YA. There’s romance and friendships and extremely realistic relationships between all sorts of people. There are challenges to gender roles (thank you Sarah Ockler! Y’all’ll know what I mean when you read the book) and fun pranks and writing on the wall. It has a blatant honesty to it that’s illuminating, an absorbing sense of revealing the unspoken.

I adored this book. It doesn’t rely on dialogue – due to the nature of the plot – but still finds creative ways to show us the rewarding, friendly details that made me wholeheartedly love it. It’s different from a lot of YA out there – something that took me a second to get used to but that I was grateful for. I have so much respect for Sarah Ockler for pulling this book off, and it’s definitely one that I’m going to remember.

My Mood Board

As my part of the tour, I decided to put together a mood board. I love books with distinct flavors – and this one was so lively. Soca was such a large part of Elyse’s culture, and I respected Sarah Ockler’s depth of research so much. She worked in terms from Trinidad/Tobago’s culture so effortlessly that they sank into Elyse’s voice and made her feel that much more fleshed out as a character. After finishing the book, I immediately sat down to research – and to listen to the music that was so vibrantly a part of her life. I looked up cocoa farms and Carnival and all these fascinating, gorgeous aspects of Elyse’s life back home.

The Summer

On here, I have some nods to Elyse’s love for the ocean, a gorgeous girl who looks exactly like the cover model, some images of Carnival, some cocoa (Elyse’s family’s farm), a bonfire from a scene in the book, an Alpin Vega (the boat which Elyse and Christian race), tarot cards, and of course, mermaids. All these aspects made the book so colorful and lovely and wow. I loved the appreciation for the culture woven expertly throughout and the consistent flow of Elyse’s voice – even when she didn’t have one.

Interested in listening to some soca music? Check out NPR’s Wile or Wine playlist. They have Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin, a ton of the artists that Elyse gushed about within The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. I highly recommend it. It makes the book that much more of a multi-faceted experience.

 The Giveaway

Simon & Schuster has graciously allowed me to host a giveaway for a beautiful finished copy of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids! It’ll end 6/2/2015 (the release date) at 12 A.M. so get your entries in as soon as possible! I can’t wait to share this book with y’all. Rafflecopter isn’t working for me at the moment so here’s how it’s going to work.

How to Enter:

Comment below with your name and email! What do you think of the book?
+1: Tweet using the hashtag #MermaidMonday and be sure to tag me in it @wlsgrace
+1: Follow @sarahockler on Twitter
+2: Follow @wlsgrace on Twitter

Please put any/all entries into your comment below! Leave any extra information – like your Twitter handle, etc,. – for me to check!  I’ll plug all the entries into a random generator and email the winner. In the meantime, be sure to check out the other #MermaidMonday stops!

The Other Stops

10:00am EST
Andi’s ABCs

12:00pm EST
Novel Novice

2:00pm EST
Uncreatively Zoey

3:00pm EST
Elizziebooks

4:00pm EST
Words Like Silver

5:00pm EST
BookCrushin

6:00pm EST (First 2 chapters of TSoCM)
Perpetual Page Turner

Happy #MermaidMonday!

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