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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Ink by Amanda Sun

Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: Paper Gods #1
Young Adult
Pages: 377
Genre: Mythology, Paranormal, Romance

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

     Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.
     Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.
*My Top 5 Favorite Things About INK*

#1. Language and Culture
If you're going to be reading a novel set in Japan, about Japanese customs and religions, then you have to read it right. Amanda Sun does a spectacular job of combining her knowledge of the Japanese language and her time spent in the wonderful country and incorporates it into INK with such vivid and astute detail. Not to mention you learn a thing or two about the customs of Japan --i.e., saying Itedekimasu before beginning a meal; when returning home, saying tadaima; taking off shoes before entering a building or a household so that the floors are not dirtied by outside filth-- even just getting little translations of the language was fun. I'd been taking a Japanese class at my college, so it was enjoyable to see the words and phrases I'd been studying incorporated in the novel and also not having myself turn to the glossary in the back of the novel. I say, I felt proud!

#2. The Artwork
A book about art with pictures in the book. I was excited when I saw pictures in my ARC of Wanderlust. INK made me change my pants there were so many different techniques going on. The astounding cover for one; little flip book pictures in the corner; pictures in the pages of the novel, and I hear that the e-book ones move! How freaking cool is that! 

The artwork of INK really beings another element to the novel. Not only does it stand out from different YA novels in the market, but because INK is a book about art, the pictures and doodles in the book give INK an air, a personality and a sense of beauty.

#3. The Scenery/Places
Katie Greene takes you as the reader around may places in the town of Shizuoka. Two of my favorite places happen to be the garden/park area where Katie finds Tomohiro drawing on one of her little staking escapades for the truth. The nature is gorgeous and the growing relationship between the two characters really forms from their time spent there. The other place that I liked reading about is the karaoke with Katie's friends. The reason I liked the scene is because Karaoke is such a popular place in Japan that it brings out more of that culture the novel is so rich with.

#4. The Mythology
Shinto religion really intrigues me. The gods and goddesses of Japan, the creation story of the islands. I found it an inspiring element to the Paper Gods novel, INK. I just wish there was more involvement in the first book about these walking Shinto gods with ink in their veins as well as background elements of the myths, too. Hopefully book 2 really feeds my craving!

#5. Katie's Growth:
From the first introduction of Katie Greene, she's a girl who is alone in a foreign country she has no wish to be in. It is understandable for her feelings. I don't think I would enjoy it very much if I was pulled out of the United States just after my mother passed away, still in high school, and know very little of a language that had no English letters in any of their three alphabets. Yes, dear reader. Japan has three different alphabets that get harder each go. And lets mention that they strike no resemblance to English, unless you're reading katakana, which then the pronunciation of the characters are that of English words because it is an alphabet for non-Japanese words--like cake or cheese or hamburger or McDonalds or Disneyland, if you get the picture.

Anyway. From start point to end point, INK really shows how Katie blossoms into a girl, sought to leave Japan at the first change she caught, to a girl who has mixed feelings leaving behind valuable friends, an aunt who cares an awful lot, a strange country that begins to feel like home, a boy that she had feelings for, and gods walking among her in the land of the rising sun.

I’m a YA author and proud Nerdfighter. I was born in Deep River, Canada, a very small town without traffic lights or buses, and where stranger safety is comprised of what to do if you see a bear—or skunk. I started reading fantasy novels at 4 and writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. Hopefully my work’s improved since then. In university I took English, Linguistics, and Asian History, before settling into Archaeology, because I loved learning about the cultures and stories of ancient people. Of course, I didn’t actually become an archaeologist—I have an intense fear of spiders. I prefer unearthing fascinating stories in the safety of my living room. The Paper Gods is inspired by my time living in Osaka and travelling throughout Japan. That and watching far too many J-Dramas. I currently live in Toronto withmy husband and daughter. When I’m not writing, I’m devouring YA books, knitting nerdy things like Companion Cubes and Triforce mitts, and making elaborate cosplays for anime cons.

Win a finished copy of INK, a Onigiri Bento Kimono, and a pack of Nijiiro picks