Monday, May 14, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

I was lucky enough to get to be a part of the SUMMER LOVIN' BOOK BLOG TOUR through Sourcebooks and I'm very excited to have some fun things going on - on the blog today that include a guest post featuring why ya rocks Karen Schreck's world, an awesome giveaway for a copy of While He Was Away and review for the book. So, me make Karen Schreck feel right at home on A Soul Unsung.

While He Was Away
by Karen Schreck
Publisher: Soucebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Pages: 256
Age Demographic: Young Adult
amazon | b&n

"This is just something I have to do, okay?" I hear David say. "The right thing."

He cradles my face in his hands. He kisses me hard. Then he lets go of me. His eyes dart from me to whatever's next.

All she wants is for him to stay. She's been doing pretty well, pretending he doesn't have to go. But one day, after one last night to remember, she wakes up and there's no denying it anymore. He's gone.

When Penna Weaver's boyfriend goes off to Iraq, she's left facing life without him. As summer sets in, Penna tries to distract herself with work and her art, but the not knowing is slowly driving her crazy. Especially when David stops writing.

She knows in her heart he will come home. But will he be the same boy she fell in love with?

* Summary taken from Goodreads.

❝My Thoughts❞

Karen Schreck pens a poingnant and inspiring story of love and war, trials and tribulations, and finding oneself. While He Was Away is brimming with a storm of conflicting emotions wide enough to open the flood gates of fear, pride, sadness, and love so deep and beautiful that it will leave reader's breathless. The vibrant cast of characters with their own unique personalities and fascets are sure to tug at their heart strings.

Penna was a delightful character to read about. She was both strong and fearful for David in her love and unwavering support, as he made what he thought was the right decision to serve his country by enlisting in the Army and going to Iraq. There was an overwhelming surge of pride that rose up inside of me, when she finally stood up to ber mother enough to find out more of her family's history. It was endearing to see Penna pick up and choose to have a relationship with her grandmother after all this time not really knowing her at all or much about her.

The love and stability of Penna and David's relationship was breath taking and beautiful to see unfold. Their level of trust, committment, and support despite the short amount of interaction or communication they were given was absolutely awe inspiring. These two truly share a love that is rare to younger couples where most young adult fiction is concerned. They have such a shared sense of understanding between the two, that it's nice to see how real and honest their relationship was. There were moments that I wanted to cry, because it was so beautiful.

While He Was Away is a beautiful tale of love that will take reader's on a journey through the highs and lows along with the difficulties of maintaning a long distance relationship. It isn't an easy thing to do, but sometimes if you truly love something then you're presented with the difficult task of letting that something go. It is a story that does a brilliant job of illustrating that sometimes bits and pieces of life cannot be wrapped up so neatly all nice and pretty. Life and relationships are just not that containable. They are messy, complicated, complex, and filled with so many overwhelming emotions that are raw and burn to the core.

It is a wonderful book full of self-discovery, love, and sacrifice that I would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoy's contemporaries. This isn't your happily ever after, but sometimes the greatest love stories of all don't have happy endings.


Guest Post: Why YA Rocks My World
by Karen Schreck

YA is hot.

As in steamy, sultry, blazing, scathing, illuminating, fiery, incendiary, spicy, enlightening, searing, scorching. A wildfire. A prairie burn. An inferno of characters, settings, plots. A refiner’s fire that draws out pure gold.

YA can also be cold.

As in chill, bitter, harsh, blustery, caustic, shivery, biting, hard-edged, cool. A frigid wind that dips below zero. A blizzardy drift of ideas and images. One snowflake never like the next. And once all hell freezes over, than YA can be the sharp-edged ax that breaks through the ice of your soul.

YA lit—good YA lit—is never, ever lukewarm.

Not in terms of content—the fearless stories told, the layers of meaning revealed.

Not in terms of character—these people live on the pages, and like most adolescents (or the adolescent in all of us, who lives on and on and on) their motivation frequently cuts to the quick: they are desperately trying to figure out just who in God’s name they are.

And YA lit is never, ever lukewarm or tepid in terms of voice—which is so driven by character, setting, and plot, and which defines each YA novel—that distinct, one-of-a-kind voice that speaks a book into existence, that prods and goads and compels a writer—me—to tell the story.

This is just a little bit of why YA rocks my world—why I love writing and reading books for teens. Or, supposedly for teens, since most street smart and literary savvy adults worth their salt know that Young Adult Fiction is among the best literature out and about today.

Want to win a copy of While He Was Away by Karen Schreck?


Thanks to Sourcebooks and Karen Schreck, I have one copy of While He Was Away to be added to the top of your summer to-be-read book pile. You'll laugh, cry, and really enjoy this beautiful tale of love, letting go, and embracing yourself. The only rules are that you at least be 13 years or older, from US or Canada only, fill out the Rafflecopter below, and then reply to the email notifying the winner if you are chosen within 48 hours.

That's it, easy-peasy. You want that book now, dontcha?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to purchase a copy of While He Was Away by Karen Schreck?

You can do so by visiting my Amazon Store and adding them to your shopping cart. While you're there, feel free to look around, you might find something else you want. I hope you enjoyed reading my review of While He Was Away. I definitely suggest you pick up a copy for yourself or even for someone else, if you think they'll like it.


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Karen Schreck is the author of the young adult novel WHILE HE WAS AWAY (Sourcebooks Fire, May 2012), as well as the novel DREAM JOURNAL, which was a 2006 Young Adult BookSense Pick, and the award-winning children's book, LUCY'S FAMILY TREE. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize and an Illinois State Arts Council Grant, Karen received her doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She writes and teaches for a living, and she loves visiting schools and other gatherings of readers and writers to talk about her books the writing process.

Author information taken from her Goodreads.

{ This ARC was provided by Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review which I have provided. No money exchanged hands, I review books for fun because I love to read. I am not interested in monetary gain. Any piece of this ARC that was/wasn't quoted, is not part of the finished product and should not be perceived as such.}


  1. I love swimming. :D Best way to beat the heat.

  2. I adore sitting in the sun pool-side reading a good book!

  3. I love gardening and taking my little boys to the beach!!


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