Tuesday, August 27, 2013

(Book Tour & GIVEAWAY) The Silent Swan, by Lex Keating

Barnes & Noble
Release Date: August 26, 2013
Publisher: AltWit Press

Once upon a time – better known as “now” - Gabriel Pritz reigns as king of his high school. Easy grades, perfect baseball season, a pretty date for prom—he's coasting into a golden future. Until his parents demand he cook dinner once a week. Caught between kitchen fires and ballpark withdrawal, Gabe is thrown into Tam Swann's orbit. Hostile, friendless, and stubborn, she's exactly the sort of person he'd prefer to avoid.

Tam's sphere of influence expands beyond Gabe's sad domestic skills, rapidly invading everything from his favorite game to parts of his soul he didn't know existed. It's uncomfortable, it's hard work, it's...making him a better man. And that's just what she does to people she doesn't like. The better he gets to know her, the more he has to face the truth: this sharp, heart-breaking outcast is worth fighting for. How many families, fairy tales, and felons will he go through to ride to the rescue of the bravest person he's ever met?

I absolutely, positively hated putting this book down.  I was drawn in to Keating's world immediately and loved how the characters grew throughout the story.

There were parts that seemed confusing and choppy--and I felt like I had missed something--but it didn't take away from the story.  That may be the fact that I didn't know the fairy tale behind the story until I finished the book.  It makes somewhat more sense now that I know it's a derivative.

Gabe was highly irritating at the beginning: a spoiled brat who couldn't get over himself enough to cook dinner for his family once a week.
Gabe had nightmares all week, about being chased by oven fires and flying saucepans.
A little melodramatic, aren't we?  But it totally worked in the context of the story.  Gabe is actually pretty funny, even if I didn't enjoy all of the physical fighting and "threats" to kill his brothers.
Mike stood there, staring, as she pedaled out of the neighborhood with considerable speed.  "She has really good balance."
Gabe smacked the back of his head. Hard.
"You weren't looking at her balance," he said darkly.
Perverts. They started so young these days.
My only other pet peeve in the book was the name-calling and slut-shaming.  A girl who is mean and deceptive should not be called a "ho."  A bitch?  Sure.  An asshole?  Absolutely.  But not a whore.

Gabe's strategic thinking helps him throughout the book.  Not only as a baseball coach, but also when he decides he likes Tam and wants to be with her.
Gabe needed to tackle this less like a game and more like a government grant.  Hard work, dedication, research.  This entire campaign would depend on one woman's vote.  Look out, Tam.  This candidate was coming for her.
And then he starts getting all moony-eyed over her.  It's terribly sweet.
She made his life better--not simpler, but more full--and she challenged his character.

But he still snarks about his siblings.
Brothers.  Put on this earth solely to make him look like the smart one.
I also found some great advice re: public speaking.  It's especially timely since I am starting to work on my final speech for my Toastmasters Competent Communicator designation.
A captive audience needn't be entertained, but neither are you best served by talking for the pleasure of hearing yourself.
Whether they're interested or hostile, people respond better to sincerity.  It cuts down on a lot of posturing, and it leaves you with only the important words.  Harder to hear, sometimes, but it also makes silence an effective tool.
Point taken!

I doubt I would have read this book were it not for the blog tour, so I'm very happy that I took part.

Highly recommended for fans of YA Contemporary fiction.

Lex Keating has been engaged in a passionate affair with books ever since the Velveteen Rabbit wanted to be real. She graduated from a liberal arts college with a BA in literature, and currently resides near Charleston, South Carolina, in a swamp full of barbarians and all their cats. She has been a teacher, a paralegal, a computer programmer, and a hospice caregiver. She currently divides her time between studying old fairy tales and making up new ones.

Quotes used in this review were pulled from the ARC version of this book.  Wording may have changed during the publication process.

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