Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Susan T. Roos
Guest Blog

Hi, Cheryl! Let me start by thanking you for hosting me today.
There’s so many things we could talk about in my first book release, Girl Spoken for, but let’s touch on a few messages and themes throughout, not only this book, but the series.
Girl Spoken For was born from one simple idea. One simple story; a girl’s rough road when she has a child while in high school. And as the story blossomed into this other world, I intentionally wanted not only Tatum Duncan’s story told, but I wanted to sneak a few messages in along the way. Maybe they’re not so subtle to the reader which would be great.

Some parents typically make a huge mistake (NOT ALL PARENTS) in raising teens.

When a woman gives birth they’re are guilty of having a vision of how their child’s lives will be (yes, I’ve done this too). So you take that picture in your head and never see anything else.

A common picture some parents miss is realitywhat’s really happening in their child’s life. Or maybe you’re lucky enough that you were spot on. But most are not.

Is that what happens to parents? From birth they wear blinders? See what they only want to see? Yes. That’s what I believe. And again, NOT all parents are like this.

But in Girl Spoken For, Tatum’s parents were, especially her mother. She ignored how Tatum wanted to broaden her horizons. It can be fun for a parent to watch their child spread their wings, but Tatum’s mom couldn’t. Throughout the book Tatum jokes about how her mother wasn’t happy unless she were dressed like Shirley Temple, the way her mother preferred. Her mother wanted the sweet, innocent young girl who did what she wanted. Again, Tatum’s mother wore the birthing life blinders.

What else does Tatum’s mother have issues with? Mutual respect.

Tatum’s mother didn’t show nor give Tatum much respect. Tatum had that with her grandmother, not her Mom. In the first chapter Tatum reads to her little sister, Toni. A small gesture, but Tatum already knew that since their grandmother was gone they were on their own emotionally. Their mother couldn’t relate to them. Tate’s mother was fearful of her girls growing up, and not being able to control them in the big bad world. So, instead she chose to make them fearful of her. Instead of conversing and relating to how tough it can be as a kid, she took the unhealthy route. Maybe that’s all she knew?

One thing I love about one of my characters is how she provides Tatum with comfort and support. Diane is a great friend to Tatum—no matter what, she’s got her back. Think how much better it is if you have (or had) a friend like that in your teen years. Someone who respects you and makes it clear they’re always on your side.  Parents can be like that for their kids, but Tatum’s mother wasn’t.  Luckily, Diane steps in to fill the void left when Tatum’s grandmother passes away.
As former (or current) teenagers, we have some kind of bully story or another. We’ve all had family issues. But the difference is communication and mutual respect. Respect each other’s differences. Respect each other’s growth. Respect each other’s ideas. Respect each other. Period.

Sure, life can suck at times. It’s hard. But respect and communication can make it so much better.

About Girl Spoken For:

I was “spoken for” by a Mob grandson, which was either terrifying or kind of cool – I wasn’t sure which one yet.

When the realities of life shatter her fragile innocence, Tatum Duncan’s courage and resilience are tested. She’s determined to be in control of her future. But the love of her life, Zach Bertano, and his mob family may have other plans.

Will she “speak for” Zach, like he has “spoken for” her? Or will Tatum walk away?

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Want to get to know Suzie better? Check out her Dear Reader post on Barclay Publicity's Book Scoop Blog!

About Suzie T. Roos:
Suzie T. Roos is from, and has settled in, St. Louis with her husband, two children and a number of foster pets at any given time.

She and her husband have lived everywhere from Philadelphia, PA to out West in Santa Monica, CA. They’re thankful they could expose their children to different American lifestyles and cultures.

Besides writing, Suzie’s hobbies include movies, traveling, and especially concert going with her husband and friends.

She’s always been an animal lover and animal rights advocate. She is certified by FEMA in IS-00011.a Animal in Disasters: Community Planning. She’s also an active volunteer at the Humane Society of Missouri.

Connect with Suzie:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

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Girl Spoken ForGirl Spoken For by Suzie T. Roos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Girl Spoken For is the beginning of a new YA trilogy by Suzie T. Roos that I was granted an early release copy of from Netgalley. I have to admit that I was intrigued by the title of this book. It is what drew me to it and of course the blurb on the back cemented my desire to read this book. I kept going back and looking at the cover and trying to determine what about it kept drawing my attention. Even as I read it I kept going back to it. I finally figured it out after I finished the book and went back to the cover and stared at it like I do pictures in a museum. I won't give it away in case someone else had the same thing happen to them. It is a great cover but something that made me question what it means.

Girl Spoken For is told from the point of view of a 15/16 year old teen in the 10th grade, Tatum. It chronicles her daily life and how she ends up "spoken for" by the grandson of a mob boss. It also gives an in depth portrayal of how the normal trials of being a teen affect her. But, there are also some things most of us wish were not trials for a teen that she experiences that we watch her handle. These trials would shake up most adults so experiencing them with Tatum really draws you into the story. One of the best parts of Girl Spoken For is her inner dialogues as she reflects on conversations and events. I always reflect on events and conversations in my life and wondered if others had these same inner dialogues and even used to put them on paper until they were discovered by someone I wished had not discovered them because taken out of context most of our reflections might seem negative when read by the person who they are about even when they are not meant to be negative. Sometimes Tatum's thoughts spilled out on her friends and I was surprised and delighted by her friends' responses which reflected on how much they really cared for an understood her and her situation.

Tatum is extremely complex and I have to admit that I fell in love with her little sister, 6 year old Toni, and her responses to meeting Tatum's friends. She is so vibrant and innocent and there is this contrast I saw where Tatum also started with that same innocence and light until she starts experiencing some negative events. But, in school as she is internally dealing with these events her friends still were drawn to her and missing her light. We also see how a teenage girl goes through a relationship with her mother and those of us that had a contentious relationship with our mothers as teens can see from the outside how this might have looked and it was spot on. You hope that she comes out of it knowing that a lot of this is the teen not understanding the mother's role and just the conflict because the mother is the disciplinarian and the person guiding them through what they know a teenage girl can go through even if all they are doing is worrying because of their past experiences. Teens tend to see this as dislike by the parent when it is concern and the desire to protect. We also experience Tatum's thoughts and processing of her relationship with Zach. It was at times comical and at other times we cheered it on because of how much he cared for and protected her. You also worry about it because of his family. We only get a cursory glance at the structure and politics of his family towards the end of this part of the story which means I cannot wait for the next book and have already jumped on the author's website to see what I could learn about what was coming. Happy to see the next book, Girl Divided Two is coming soon.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Revive (RedZone, #1)Revive by Tracey Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Revive...an action packed thriller about Sophia, a girl with some pretty amazing gifts like speed, agility, ability to compute things in her head that most would need a computer program to work out and some really serious fighting skills. I was able to obtain an early release copy via the wonderful NetGalley in exchange for a review. We meet Sophia as she is coming out of a stupor with a good chunk of her memory missing. She is in what appears to be some sort of mall with a food court and there are men chasing her but she does not know who they are or quite what they want. The reader is along for the ride as Sophia tries to remember her past, who she really is and what she is doing with a young man named Kyle in the mall. She is also injured and cannot recall how she has become injured.

As the story moves along we move back and forth between current day and the time just before Sophia arrives at her college. We learn who she is and why she is there along with Sophia as she starts to regain her memory. So much of this story revolves around this process that I don't want to give anything away but suffice it to say that there are some really great surprises along with some pretty good fight scenes. We are also introduced to Sophia's friends, both at home and at college. For the most part the ones at college seem pretty basic, but, the ones she grew up with help make this story such a great one. They each have their own strengths and gifts as well as quirks that make you like them. They are well developed and make the reader want to get to know them better. I am not sure how the other stories will flow in the Red Zone series, i.e., whether it will always follow Sophia's point-of-view. But, it looks like it will at least continue where Revive left off. I can say that I had a bit of trouble sometimes knowing when the book was looking into the past because in some spots we don't know she is remembering something as opposed to currently living it other than the passage seems out of time with what was previously occurring. Then the end of the passage helps the reader clue in on the fact that what was previously read was a memory and not what was currently happening. This occurred a few times in the book. The other thing is a "trope" that I am not a fan of and I will leave that for the other readers to find out because it is a large part of the development of the story.

Dark Waters by Chris Goff My rating: 5 of 5 stars Completely phenomenal! I have a new go-to author. I will read whatever Chris Goff write...