Tag Archives: Blog Tour

The Color Project

Read on 5th & 8th July, 2017

Author: Sierra Abrams

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5 Stars

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Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organisation called The Color Project.

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

For fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson, The Color Project is a story about the three great loves of life—family, friendship, and romance—and the bonds that withstand tragedy.

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Thank you to Sierra Abrams for providing me with an eARC of The Color Project and Mollie the Reader for hosting the blog tour.

This has in no way influenced my review, all thoughts are my own.

The Color Project is a wonderful, heartwarming novel that captures the essence of interpersonal relationships – family, friendships and romantic. Up there with Queens of Geek, The Color Project is now one of my all-time favourite contemporary novels.

The Color Project features beautiful writing and a gorgeous design. However, the characters were by far the highlight of my reading experience.

First of all, the design of The Color Project is absolutely gorgeous. The cover, the chapter titles, the page breaks… beautiful. It’s definitely one of the prettiest books I’ve ever encountered and it really reflects the book well.

Sierra’s writing is beautiful, which is especially impressive considering this is her debut novel. Bee’s narrative voice is vivid and relatable, made unique through the inclusion of brackets to demonstrate her thought process (i.e. if Bee says one thing the brackets are used to reflect she’s really thinking something else) and “Thing You Should Know About Me [insert random number here]” randomly scattered throughout the text. The language, which is very contemporary with familiar colloquialisms, coupled with the incorporation of instant messaging conversations and references to current media such as The Book Thief and Hamilton, further allows the reader to be immersed in Bee’s narration.

Another unique formatting element is the fact that the chapter names are song titles. Personally, the only music I really listen to is Hamilton and Disney so I glossed over this part but for those who are interested, Sierra has compiled a Spotify playlist for all of the chapter title songs which can be found here. This element links in well with the story itself as Levi and Bee have several conversations regarding their taste in music.

Bee, our narrator, is a relatable, realistic character who is struggling with her own insecurities, identity and the pressure of not knowing what she wants to do with her life. She is also a bookworm (and book pusher) which I always love seeing. As challenges arose I didn’t always agree with how she dealt with them but I did understand where she was coming from when making her decisions.

Sadly, it’s incredibly rare to find present, positive family relationships within young adult literature as most novels either feature dead, absent or terrible parents – it’s almost as trite as the line “I let out a breath I hadn’t realised I was holding”. That said, Bee’s family were active and realistic; they teased and sometimes irritated one another but at the end of the day they were always there for each other. Individually Bee’s parents, Chloe and Matt, are wonderful people and great role models. Together, they have an amazing relationship that is actual goals. They are open and honest with each other and it’s apparent to all that they’re still madly in love. Bee’s siblings, Tom, Astrid and Millie, all have distinct personalities and were very much 3D characters.

Levi is an adorable cinnamon roll, a “precious heart”, and I love him so much. Not only is he incredibly kind, sweet, generous and selfless, but at the mere age of nineteen he runs his own charity – The Color Project – which administers financial aid to anyone who asks for it. His mother, Suzie, is equally amazing and I just want to hug them both and protect them from the world. Suffice to say, Levi is currently my top book boyfriend, even over Rhys from A Court of Mist and Fury and Jamie from Queens of Geek.

The Color Project is full of wonderful, kind, generous human beings. Gretchen, Bee’s best friend who lives across the county; Tracy, Bee’s manager at the flower shop; Ludwig, the delivery man; and all the volunteers at The Color Project are just a few of them.

Thus, in spite of the slightly darker themes that appear later in the narrative and a handful of terrible, selfish people, The Color Project leaves an overall light, fluffy, optimistic impression. It shows readers that yes, the world can be harsh, but it can be beautiful too.

The Color Project takes a relatively unique approach to relationships. Personally, I’ve found that young adult novels – particularly contemporaries – tend to build up to the moment the couple gets together and then stop. There usually isn’t anything past that; no models for navigating relationships, nothing on how to appropriately deal with conflict once the “honeymoon period” has gone by. The Color Project effectively navigates these waters; the relationship is developed, Bee and Levi start dating (and believe me, it’s adorable) but because of outside factors and some communication errors, there is hardship. To me, this is an incredibly important inclusion because that’s often how life is.

In terms of romantic relationships, I really appreciated that a) Bee wanted to wait until marriage to have sex and b) that her wishes were accepted, with no shame or judgement attached. I am a fan of sex-positive books and I believe they’re important but this element especially stood out to me as it’s something that I value.

Cute, fluffy and heartwarming while also making me ball my eyes out, The Color Project is a new favourite of mine. I loved it wholeheartedly and upon it’s release I will most certainly be shouting at people to read it.

The Color Project is now being released on August 17th as opposed to July 18th. Sierra addressed this in a Twitter thread which you can find here.

Sierra herself is super lovely and approachable. Her website can be found here and her Twitter here.

Let’s Discuss!

Have you heard of The Color Project?

If you’ve read The Color Project, what are your thoughts? If not, have I convinced you to read it upon release?

What are some of your favourite contemporaries?

What are some of your favourite novels featuring strong family relationships?

Please let me know! I love discussing with you guys 🙂

Omari and the People

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Author: Stephen Whitfield

Narrator: Curt Simmons

3.5 Stars

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Goodreads

Audible | Book Depository

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In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based in part on the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home afire to start anew and to cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place which only he can lead them to, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The desperate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari’s involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability  to lead – his very life – is jeopardized.

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Note: I received this book from Jess at Audiobook Promotions in exchange for an honest review as a part of this tour. The tour is being sponsored by Stephen Whitfield and Curt Simmons. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Although not a story I would usually reach for, Omari and the People was a solid read.

First of all, the narration in this book was fantastic. Curt’s slight accent kept me captivated and coming back for more. With a relatively slow plot and overall story arc, that was important for me. It also serves to further highlight that this was not, indeed, a european setting. I’m not great with accents, but I believe his was possibly arabic.

Omari and the People is largely character driven, rather than plot heavy. The characters, while slightly hard to keep track of due to similar sounding names on audio, were interesting and developed throughout the story. Umal, an older lady, was my favourite character as she was the most intriguing – shrouded in mystery, constantly surprising everyone, incredibly wise, and perhaps even possessing paranormal abilities, Umal was always one to look forward to. Sofia, mother of two young sons, and Umbaric, former captain of the city guard, were also quite interesting.

On a quick side note, shout out to Dab of Darkness for including character names in her review, for otherwise I would have no idea what any of them were (save Omari and perhaps Saba).

The setting, according to Stephen, is loosely based off Africa, but to me – perhaps because of the accent Curt assumes – it appears to be more Middle Eastern, the characters Arabic. However, due to the nature of the descriptions, the desert could really be anywhere. The whole “exodus across the desert” is reminiscent of the story of Moses, but there are no real religious mentions – with the exception of a few characters having possibly supernatural gifts. So, again, the story is one that encourages readers to build the overall world and time for themselves.

A character-driven exodus of a people lead by hope and just looking to survive, this story does have some elements of romance but it is more a side element than anything. I recommend giving Omari and the People a read (or listen, as I would suggest) if you’re looking for something slightly different but enjoyable none the less.

 

 

Don’t You Trust Me? Release Week Event + Giveaway

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Hello everyone! Today I’m coming to you from a ridiculously long hiatus with an exciting linkup with Jess from Audiobookworm Promotions to celebrate the release of Patrice Kindl’s new YA triller.

With a spotlight on Don’t You Trust Me?’s narrator, Bailey Carr, and a fantastic giveaway happening, I’m super excited to get my hands (or, more likely, ears) on this story and I hope you are too.

A teenage girl switches identities with a stranger and pulls off a long-term scam in this smart, sarcastic thriller perfect for fans of Ally Carter.

Don’t you trust me? I mean, look at me. Blond, blue eyed, the very image of innocence. Pretty enough, if you care about that kind of thing. I don’t. But would a normal person switch identities with some wet mess of a girl at the airport just to get her to stop bawling about being separated from her loser boyfriend and sent to live with some distant relatives? Nope, she wouldn’t. Yet I did. I’m not as normal as you think. And you’ll just have to trust me.

©2016 Patrice Kindl (P)2016 Recorded Books

Goodreads
Author’s Website

Bailey Carr
Bailey Carr is an audiobook narrator for multiple New York Times Bestselling authors including Morgan Matson, Heather Graham, Ann Aguirre, Samantha Towle, and Laurie Halse Anderson. She has narrated over 50 audiobooks for audio publishers including Audible Studios, Recorded Books, and Tantor Audio. Bailey graduated with a BFA in Acting from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She lives and records in Brooklyn, NY.

Q & A

How did you get started in audiobooks?
I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee and moved to New York for college in 2006. I graduated from the NYU Tisch Acting program in 2010 and was cast for my first book for Audible Studios in 2011. I’ve always loved reading, and I feel so grateful to get to bring stories to life in audio.

What are some of your favorite books that you’ve narrated?
So hard to choose! Some of my favorite audiobooks recorded to-date include The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate, Inception by Bianca Scardoni, and Art & Soul by Brittainy C. Cherry. I have a youthful voice, so I mostly narrate Young Adult and New Adult material. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to narrate the incredibly interesting and special memoir of hummingbird rehabber Terry Masear, Fastest Things on Wings. I learned so much about hummingbirds! I also recently narrated some Non-Fic on the Myers-Briggs Personality Types. (ENFP over here!) I can’t say too much about upcoming books due to publisher restrictions, but I CAN say I’m very excited about a nine-book YA series on the horizon, and also a book I’ll be co-narrating with a Disney TV star that I totally had a poster of in my locker in school!

What is your preparation process like?
I mark up my scripts like crazy – I’ve created my own notation language (a shorthand IPA, for you VO people) so I can mark pronunciations, underline operative words, and take note of direction the author has subtly gifted me in the words they’ve chosen. Staying true to the text is very important to me, so I rely on the author’s clues to inform my delivery and direct my performance (such as “Not if I get there first!” she gritted through her teeth.) Script preparation helps me be relaxed and present in the booth. Audiobook narration is a marathon and requires stamina, so it’s important to take lots of breaks to remain engaged and connected to the material. As for while I’m in the booth, I’ve learned a lot of tricks of the trade. Hydration is so important. I drink a ton of water! And tea. I probably have at least three different liquids on hand at all times. I also brush my teeth right before every recording session. (Is that weird?)

Any interesting stories from the booth?
In Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything, four best friends have a group text thread. No spoilers, but one of the characters gets challenged to an emoji-only summer, where she’s only allowed to use emojis to communicate via text. It’s pretty hilarious! I worked closely with Morgan, the author, and it was a super fun challenge to translate the emojis to spoken word for the audiobook, especially for an emoji-lover like myself 💕📚🐶🐕🐩🍦💑.

Fun facts about Bailey?
My recording booth is purple! (My favorite color.) I play the guitar & the saxophone. I have a pet blue crayfish named Dr. Claw. Out of the booth, I volunteer at educational non-profit, FarmingNYC. I’m also a New York Times published photographer.

Social:
I absolutely love connecting with listeners on social. Recording alone in a booth many hours every day can be isolating, and I put my whole heart into each character and book I narrate, so it’s very meaningful to me to hear back when listeners enjoy a story.

Bailey’s Social Media Links
Twitter: @BaileyCarrVOICE
Instagram: @BaileyCarrVOICE
Don’t You Trust Me? is now available to purchase through Audible  (Digital) and Recorded Books (CDs)

Giveaway

Don’t You Trust Me? Audio Giveaway