Monday, October 8, 2012

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Color of Grace by Linda Kage



Welcome to Day 8 of Linda Kage's The Color of Grace Book blog tour!!  There are some exciting things to see in the tour, and in the post below.  Check out all the fun tidbits about the book, and don't forget to check later in the post for two easy ways of entering to win prizes!


The Color of Grace by Linda Kage
Release Date:  August 1, 2012
Publisher:  Whiskey Creek Press

When my mother remarried after thirteen years of being a widow, I had to move to a new town and enroll in a new school. Suddenly thrust into an entirely different kind of life, I just wanted to go home. I didn’t want to meet new people, didn’t want to leave my old friends, didn’t want to become a third wheel to my mom and her husband….and I really didn’t want to see Ryder Yates again. Ugh, I still don’t know why I turned down that too-good-to-be-true boy who flirted with me when we were attending separate schools.  But honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was worse.   Who knew becoming lost in a new life could help a girl find her true colors? - Goodreads.com


In the midst of vampires, werewolves, witches, angels, and dystopians, it's sometimes really amazing to find a story where the characters are real, living, and dealing with situations that occur every day in real life, and then watching them work their way through those challenges.  Linda Kage's The Color of Grace gave me exactly that.  This story wasn't high concept, gimmicky, or following a current trend, and that's exactly what I loved about it.

Grace is a regular girl, kinda nerdy, even a little shy and mousy to begin with.  When her mother remarries and they must move her to a new school district, you expect her to get swallowed by the popular crowd and to fade into the background as she's always done at her old school, with only her closest "nerd herd" friends around her.  But her chance encounter with one of the most popular boys at her new school throws her directly into a new set of friends, ones she never used to fit in with.  Don't get me wrong... this isn't exactly the cliched story of a popular girl wannabe where the nerdy girl gets elevated in a cutesy way and ends up getting the boy.  It may seem to start out that way, but in her unique way, Linda Kage manages to make this story about oh, so much more.

For the first time, Grace's personality evolves and she finds new strength, new awareness, and new courage within herself to stand up for herself among this new popular crowd.  Not all of her choices are the best ones, but she doesn't stand on the sidelines anymore and let herself melt into the background.  She doesn't spend all her time trying to conform or compromise herself in order to fit in with this crowd.  She keeps being herself, whether they like it or not, because she just doesn't care about impressing people.  She doesn't always make the best judgments about people, with Ryder included, but that's part of what makes her character so true and real.

Ryder.... This was just an all around great guy.  He's drop-dead gorgeous, the most popular guy at his school, but he's strangely grounded.  He doesn't care what others think about him, which probably is what makes him so alluring to this crowd.  The great thing about him though is that he's strong at just the right moment, exactly when and how he needs to be.  But this is just a great guy that any girl would be lucky to have.  The scene in the bathroom... that's all I'm going to say.  It says it all for anyone who has read the book.

This story took a surprising turn for me, and I was a little surprised by the events that unfold.  I wasn't expecting this to occur in this story.  It seemed to be a very clear-cut cute romance.  So, needless to say, I was a little floored when I discovered where things were headed.  Wow, what a surprise punch.  There are some really awesome life lessons in this story, and it was great watching Grace working to overcome this obstacle.  The only thing that really got me though was that she had to do it almost entirely on her own.  There were times I really wished her mother could have been there for her, but I larged wished I could give her mom a good bonk in the head more than once.

The writing in this story was just about perfect, even down to the title.  I loved how the book's title tied so well into what was going on in the story.  The pacing, too, was pefect, as I literally flew through the pages.  There were times of simple, straightforward directness, and then times of beauty, a poetic rawness that really touched my heart and made the story stick with me.  I fell in love with Linda Kage's prior books for the same reason, and she's done it again here.  This is a story that exceeds expectations and will stick with you long after the last page.

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Check out the small excerpt from the book... just so you can get a taste of the awesomeness I mentioned above!!

“But what’re you taking a picture of?”

“The glove.”

Swerving back around, Ryder arched a questionable eyebrow at the article of winter wear in the snow. “The glove?”

Concentrating on setting the phone’s camera mode to capture, I held the screen in position as I neared the glove for a good close up.

Ryder moved in with me. I paused to send him a scowl over my shoulder. He paused too, glancing briefly at me before returning his attention to the glove. “I don’t get it.”

Gritting my teeth, I turned back to my task and tipped the phone sideways for a vertical portrait shot before tilting it back, preferring the original landscape mode. Focusing all my attention on finding the perfect pose, I scooted a little to the right and then the left, testing the light from each angle before I made up my mind and took the shot.

As the final product froze on my screen, my face lit with pleasure. “Perfect. Isn’t it wonderful?” I spun around to show off my masterpiece before I remembered the boy behind me was the one person I didn’t want to be around just then.

Ryder looked down at the picture. “It…” He scratched his head, then raised his gaze and laughed. “Honestly, it looks like a glove. What am I supposed to see?”

My face fell. He didn’t understand. I don’t know why I was disappointed. There was no chance Ryder Yates would ever be anything to me, but the fact that he didn’t share my passion let me down. Just like everything else I’d learned about him today.

“You’re supposed to see whatever you want to see. Feel whatever you want to feel.”

He concentrated hard as he glanced back down at the camera screen before he looked up and quietly asked, “So what do you see?”

Touched beyond words he cared anything about my opinion, I bit my lip as I studied the shot. After thinking it through, I gave my answer. “Well…there’s only one glove. Right away, I wonder, where’s the other glove? How did it become separated from its mate? Does it feel lost and confused without its other half? It looks lonely. Cold. Like an outsider that has no one to turn to, nowhere to go. And the stark contrast of the white snow against the bright colors of the glove makes the lines crisp and clear. It makes that feeling of alienated loneliness crisp and clear. The purity of the snow gives the purity of the glove’s solitude a stronger effect.”

When I finished talking, I held my breath, realizing how far off the deep end and into my musings I’d gone. Slowly, I lifted my face, desperate to know his response. Did he think I was crazy? Totally out there? Or wise and philosophical? The response I feared most was that he’d laugh, making fun of my foolish prattle.

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Now you have two exciting chances to win a prize.  See details below:

1. Linda Kage will pick one winner to receive a $30 Amazon Gift Card!  Enter to win by commenting on the posts in this blog tour.  And I would encourage you to visit the other blogs hosting the blog tour and comment on their posts as well.  See Linda Kage's website for a complete list of sites participating in the blog tour.  (http://lindakage.com/)  Also, see below for a list of blogs hosting today's tour stops!

                                                             I Heart YA Books
                                                             BookSpark


2. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter for a chance to win a copy of The Color of Grace!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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