Novel Publicity Blog Tour: “Silent Words” Review

Hello readers! Today, I have the pleasure of being a Novel Publicity Blog Tour host for author Chantal Fournier’s and illustrator Nicolas Lajeunesse’s new children’s book, Silent Words. It will be my first Novel Publicity review of a children’s book, and I’m excited to share it with you.

TourCoverWelcome to Novel Publicity‘s Review Only Tour for Silent Words by Chantal Fournier (Author) and Nicolas Lajeunesse (Illustrator). Read the reviews and follow along as we introduce you to Zelda and her world of words.

Available NOW on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

ABOUT THE BOOK: Zelda loves to talk. She always asks a million questions and her head is full of words like apple, bunny, cartwheel and dwizzledoodle. But when a sudden storm turns Zelda’s world upside down, all her words go silent. Zelda must embark on a quest across mountains, forests and oceans to find her parents—and her voice.

This moving tale about loss and hope will tug at your heartstrings. Author Chantal Fournier’s poetic storytelling style and illustrator Nicolas Lajeunesse’s evocative artwork combine to create a poignant story in which a child discovers comfort in the power of words.

Images

My review guidelines: As you know from my first Novel Publicity review, I HATE spoilers as a reader, so as a reviewer, I avoid them as best as possible. As a writer and an editor, I put a lot of value on the language itself used to tell a tale. A 10/10 review for me will be one with an amazing plot, characters I love, and enchanting writing. I can’t get lost in a book without falling under the spell of its words–and the spell will be ineffectual without a great plot to fall into.

With that said, please enjoy my review.

Review

I’ve always been a fan of children’s books. I admire the way they can teach important lessons and themes through a seemingly simple story and just-as-impactful pictures. Sometimes, these lessons are just as important for adults to read (to be reminded of) as children (to be taught). When I heard about this sweet and poignant tale, I jumped at the chance to review it.

I would classify this as a children’s fantasy drama. It was whimsical in the telling with somber themes. I don’t think any child would be too young to enjoy the story, but I do think older children (say, 5 and up) would understand the themes better.

The world: The world was enchanting. The pictures were extraordinary–beautiful and expressive. They made the world a character, in and of itself. The pictures matched the words perfectly, so that I felt they really worked together. The fantasy was whimsical in a symbolic way, almost like a dream. However, I would have liked a little more world-building–even just one page more–before the conflict began. It was hard to know what was at stake for the characters without more set-up, and it was hard to know just how out-of-the-ordinary all the fantastical events were for the characters.

The characters: Zelda, the main character, was charming. Her inquisitive, loving, passionate nature made her lovable. Her impulsive tendency was believable and a lesson itself. I also liked Zelda’s grandmother, who represented more than a traditional grandmother in the story, with her wisdom and nurturing. I would have liked to see Zelda’s parents more fleshed-out, but there wasn’t much room in the story for that.

The plot: Very interesting. It was a fantastical adventure, almost metaphysical, yet imaginable with the description and pictures. I was impressed with the treatment of serious themes like loss, disability, and courage–it was done realistically and with respect, also good framing for children. The ending was heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time, with a nugget of a moral that kids could walk away with. However, I would’ve liked more of a wrap-up conclusion at the end. It kind of ended in a bit of a hanging way, leaving the reader feeling a little loss himself/herself–which may have been the very point. I wanted to see the main character grow more definitively. I had a lot of questions, but then when you really think about it, if you take away the fantasy, you have the answers already. I get the sense this is something children inherently understand, and we stupid adults over-analyze it. 😉

The language: The language was very good, and any writer or logophile (word-lover), young or old will enjoy the rhetoric. The tempering of lots of words, even made-up words, in the beginning, with less words, and even no words later on in the story, was very effective in portraying the story and character’s journey. I think this is generally a category many children’s books fall short in, but this book highlighted it, which was especially important, as it related to the plot.

Review: 8/10. Beautiful. This book will stay with me for a long time. I hope to see more from this author-illustrator team–they make an inspiring story-telling team.

CHECK OUT THE TRAILER!

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

TogetherChantal Fournier (Author)

Originally from a small-ish city not too far from Montreal, I now live in Toronto, Canada, after a long stint on the beautiful Canadian West Coast, where I taught French to university students.

Silent Words, the story of a girl floating on a peculiar cloud, is my debut book. It is the fruit of a long collaboration with my artistic husband, Nicolas.

Nicolas Lajeunesse (Illustrator)

As the son of a sculptor and the grandson of a painter, art has always been a part of my life. After studying filmmaking in Montreal and working with my father for a few years, I left my French-Canadian roots and headed for the West Coast, where I discovered digital arts.

I live in Toronto, Canada, with my wife and family.
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I hope you enjoyed the review, readers–and enjoy the rest of your weekend! Try to stay warm–snow is blowing through much of the U.S.A. this weekend. Maybe, if you look close enough, you’ll see some of Zelda’s words blowing around, too. 😉

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Novel Publicity Blog Tour: “Second Verse” Review

Hello readers! Tonight, I have the pleasure of being a Novel Publicity Blog Tour host for Jennifer Walkup’s new YA paranormal novel, Second Verse, from Luminis Books. This book was completely different from the last book I reviewed for Novel Publicity, despite the fact that they’re both enjoyable mysteries with ghosts that I happened to read around Halloween. A spooky coincidence, but the tone, characters, etc. had nothing in common. Whereas AWS was more of a meditative, lyrical piece, Second Verse was a fun, thrilling, engaging page-turner that kept me guessing till the end. Read on for more info about the book, my review, and prizes! 🙂

[Disclaimer: As with all my book reviews for Novel Publicity Blog Tours, I was provided with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.]

About the book: Can love last more than a lifetime? Can Murder? Bad things come in threes. In Shady Springs, that includes murder.

Lange Crawford’s move to Shady Springs, Pennsylvania, lands her a group of awesome friends, a major crush on songwriter Vaughn, and life in a haunted, 200-year-old farmhouse. It also brings The Hunt: an infamous murder mystery festival where students solve a fake, gruesome murder scheme during the week of Halloween. Well, supposedly fake.

Weeks before The Hunt, Lange and her friends hold a séance in the farmhouse’s eerie barn. When a voice rushes through, whispering haunting words that only she and Vaughn can hear, Lange realizes it’s begging for help. The mysterious voice leads Lange and Vaughn to uncover letters and photos left behind by a murdered girl, Ginny, and they become obsessed with her story and the horrifying threats that led to her murder.

But someone doesn’t like their snooping, and Lange and Vaughn begin receiving the same threats that Ginny once did. The mysterious words from the barn become crucial to figuring out Ginny’s past and discovering how their own past is connected to hers. They must work fast to uncover the truth or risk finding out if history really does repeat itself.

Pick up your copy of this Young Adult/ Paranormal/ Thriller l through Amazon US, Amazon UK, or Barnes & Noble.

My review guidelines: As you know from my first Novel Publicity review, I HATE spoilers as a reader, so as a reviewer, I avoid them as best as possible. As a writer and an editor, I put a lot of value on the language itself used to tell a tale. A 10/10 review for me will be one with an amazing plot, characters I love, and enchanting writing. I can’t get lost in a book without falling under the spell of its words–and the spell will be ineffectual without a great plot to fall into.

With that said, please enjoy my review.

Second Verse Cover

Review

This novel lay more within my usual young-adult genre preference than my last couple of reviews, although the murder theme might have caused me not to pick this one up on my own. However, like so many of the Novel Publicity books I’ve reviewed, I’m so glad they introduced me to one I might not have read otherwise! This book was exciting and intriguing without trying too hard–perfect for its genre.

I would classify this as a young-adult paranormal thriller. It wasn’t gruesome or scare-your-pants-off frightening enough to be horror, which was a relief to me, as you know I’m somewhat of a chicken with horror novels. I also appreciated how the romance wove in with the plot in a relevant non-dominant way. I think this book would appeal to anyone who likes fun supernatural thrillers, especially those who are fans of young-adult literature.

The world: I bought into this world right away. The primary setting is modern-day, with glimpses into the past. Walkup describes the house where the narrator lives so beautifully and intricately that I felt like I was right there with her–an eerie feeling, considering it’s also the setting where other characters transcend time and other dimensions. The first few pages are a little gory (which almost scared me off), but only in the theoretical way of teenagers trying to scare each other. After that, any violence is justified and not overdone. This book pulled me in and made me experience this world first-hand in a way I’ve seen few others accomplish–well-done. The ghost scenes were amazing–so chilling and convincing that I got goosebumps. I felt like I actually benefited as a writer from reading Walkup’s perfect execution of those scenes. It’s hard to choose between “the world” and “the characters” as to which was my favorite.

The characters: These characters were immediately lovable. Lange, the main character, was a Strong Female Character through-and-through, though Walkup gave her room to grow into this over the course of the novel. Her wit and sass were tempered with vulnerability of her past demons and her big heart. Vaughn, the male lead, was perfect in his imperfection: a brooding musician just quirky enough not to be a stereotype. As I mentioned earlier, the love story didn’t overpower the main plot, but it intertwined with it in a realistic way that moved both plot and relationship forward. I never felt weighed down by sappiness, yet it was just sweet enough–a balance, I know as an author, that is difficult to accomplish. The secondary characters were charming in their own ways, too, though none shone as brightly as the main two–a fact I’m OK with, as a reader. Too much would be distracting.

The plot: The plot was intriguing and engaging. I thought the pace was pretty good, which isn’t always the case with a mystery. I think more of the thrills came later in the novel, but it made sense for the author to focus more on character development with foreshadowing in the beginning. It was definitely a page-turner, but I’m not sure how this would fare on a reread. However, it was good enough that I would be willing to pick it up again in the future and test it out. 🙂

The language: The language was snappy and quick-moving, descriptive and clear. It didn’t try too hard to be “cool” or scary, and at no point did it distract with over-description. I did think it could have been more complex; however, I understand the author’s choice in wanting to keep the pace clipping without weighing it down with sweeping lyricism and weighty insights about the meaning of life. I would describe the language as “fun,” and it was certainly appropriate and appealing for the targeted audience.

Review: 8/10. An absolute thrill-ride! I look forward to reading more from this author–maybe even a sequel!

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win either of two $25 Amazon gift cards, an autographed copy of Second Verse by Jennifer Walkup, or an autographed copy of its tour mate, The Field by Tracy Richardson. Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found HERE. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Luminis Duo tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

About the author: When Jennifer Walkup isn’t writing or reading, she’s spending time with her husband and young sons, listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers, and coming up with costume ideas for Halloween. She’s obsessed with good coffee and new recipes and likes broccoli on her pizza, flowers in her hair, flip-flops on her feet, and the number 13. A member of SCBWI, Jennifer also serves as fiction editor for The Meadowland Review and teaches creative writing at The Writers Circle. Second Verse is her first novel. Connect with Jennifer on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads.

Luminis Books was launched in January, 2010 by husband and wife team Tracy Richardson and Chris Katsaropoulos with a mission to publish thought-provoking literary fiction for children and adults. We publish what we love: Meaningful Books That Entertain. Our award-winning books engage and inform readers and explore a wide range of topics from love and relationships, teen sexual assault and homelessness to string theory, consciousness, and the Universal Energy Field. Luminis Books is a proudly independent publisher located in Carmel, IN. Learn more at www.luminisbooks.com.

Learn more about Second Verse‘s tour mate HERE.

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I hope you enjoyed the review! Join me later this week, possibly tomorrow, for another bookish edition of “Top Ten [sometimes] Tuesday”!

“The Angry Woman Suite,” by Lee Fullbright, Review–Novel Publicity Blog Tour

Hello readers! Tonight, I have the pleasure of being a Novel Publicity Blog Tour host for Lee Fullbright’s The Angry Woman Suite, from Telemachus Press, LLC. It’s a haunting mystery about the ghosts of the past and how love, betrayal, and resentment transcend time. Perfect for a book review right before Halloween, yes? 😉

However, the picture painted–a pun you’ll soon recognize–is more beautiful than grotesque, sad than scary. Read on for more info about the book, my review, and prizes!

[Disclaimer: As with all my book reviews for Novel Publicity Blog Tours, I was provided with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.]

About the book: “They need to be exercised, hearts do … to keep them strong.” Every family has skeletons, but the Grayson family has more than its share of secrets–and of portraits. Mystery portraits that incite and obscure. Portraits to die for. An unsolved celebrity double murder in Pennsylvania. A girl looking for autonomy. A young man in search of an identity. An older man’s quest for justice. A plot that pulls and twists. Get The Angry Woman Suite through Amazon.

My review guidelines: As you know from my first Novel Publicity review, I HATE spoilers as a reader, so as a reviewer, I avoid them as best as possible. As a writer and an editor, I put a lot of value on the language itself used to tell a tale. A 10/10 review for me will be one with an amazing plot, characters I love, and enchanting writing. I can’t get lost in a book without falling under the spell of its words–and the spell will be ineffectual without a great plot to fall into.

With that said, please enjoy my review.

The Angry Woman Suite

Click to view “The Angry Woman Suite” on Goodreads or to buy.

Review

As with my last Novel Publicity book review, this novel lay outside my usual genre preference. However, the plot description and historical theme intrigued me, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Angry Woman Suite was a compelling, moving, poignant read.

I would classify this as an adult historical fiction mystery. I think the book would be most appropriate for adults, since it deals with some pretty dark themes, including abuse.

The world: The reader is fully immersed in the world, 1900-1960 Pennsylvania, from the very beginning. The society is described well, and we understand–or at least, sense–why the stakes are so high early on. The elements of painting and music are ever-present throughout the work, and they are interesting devices to transition the reader between the different eras of the story. They are also interesting metaphorical devices, representative of how the characters see each other, and how that interpretation has lasting effects on their lives. The reader him/herself, although getting first-person P.O.V., gets the distinct impression that we are viewing creations of filtered perceptions by…

The characters: These characters were very real, none perfect, each with their own talents and flaws. We are so far inside their heads that it can almost be uncomfortable to be so close to their thoughts when we know they’re doing something wrong, and that discomfort can make it hard to root for the narrators. However, we are treated with rich perspective, beautiful pieces of insight that I’ll discuss more in the “language” section–and these thoughts are often what redeem the characters to us. The characters are each unique and representative of immutable forces themselves, which are interesting to watch intertwine with each other in effect if not in physical presence.

The plot was surprising and gripping, which kept you hanging on through the heartbreak. The back-and-forth between characters and times could be a little hard to follow, occasionally, but it was an interesting and innovative way to weave the work. The pace could be a little slow at times, especially with reveals, but the telling itself was entertaining enough to keep you engaged with…

The language: I’ve been lucky, in my last two reviews, to experience such lovely rhetoric dotted by pearls of wisdom. One of my favorite quotes paints a wistful picture, setting up the entire story with just a few lines:

“It took nothing away from me, living a fairytale to put a smile on my whisper-soft mother’s beautiful face. In fact, I felt benevolent granting Mother her wish, and so I sealed…[him] inside a place in my heart, in a new and hastily structured place reserved for safe-keeping rare, unused things, things too important to toss away. / ‘You never know,’ Papa always said, ‘the things you’ll find a use for. Never, ever throw anything away, mein Liebes. Never, ever, ever.'”

The language was definitely my favorite part of the book. The themes and events of the book create a lot of sadness, but the reader gets immediate gratification for the pain with soothing, enriching insights about life and relationships–insight the reader can take away after the plot is done, like souvenirs from a trip.

Review: 7/10. Lovely and haunting. An enriching, layered, complex read.

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of The Angry Woman Suite! Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest.
  2. Leave a comment on my blog.

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Angry Woman Suite tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

About the author: Lee Fullbright, a lifelong San Diegan, lives on beautiful Point Loma with her Australian cattle dog, Baby Rae (owner of her heart). Her literary mystery, The Angry Woman Suite, was a Kirkus Critics’ Pick, and won a Discovery Award (for literary fiction), as well as a Royal Dragonfly HM, and the award for “Best Mystery” at the 2013 San Diego Book Awards. Lee Fullbright is also the recipient of the 2013 Geisel Award, for “best of the best” at the SDBA. Connect with Lee on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads.

Excerpt & Book Trailer: Stephanie Fleshman’s “Render”

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope your weekend is off to a good start. Today, I got to do my two favorite things at the same time: write and cuddle. This made for a pretty awesome, if not stereotypically “cool” Friday.

Oreo is the ultimate writing buddy.

Today marks the last day of the Novel Publicity Blog Tour for Stephanie Fleshman’s Render, and in celebration, I’m going to share a couple of previews. I think they’re properly steamy for a Friday night. 😉 I hope you enjoy this book trailer, followed by an excerpt from the book. At the bottom, don’t forget to enter the giveaway, including Amazon gift cards and autographed books!

Please enjoy this fun, playful excerpt from Render by Stephanie Fleshman. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

Render: An Excerpt

I spin around and pull her to me, sighing as her arms lock around my neck. I lower my face to her hair, turning it into the curve of her neck to breathe her in.

Her body molds to mine, lithe and boneless, and my arms swallow her as I tighten my hold. It softens all the hard points, the tension I’d been holding onto, smoothing the muscles in my shoulders and back.

“You have great problem-solving skills, by the way,” I tell her softly in her ear.

Keeping her arms around me, she leans back against the wall to look at me, a baffled expression on her face, whether in relation to the compliment or the unexpected direction in conversation, I don’t know.

“Do I?” Her voice lifts in a flirtatious pitch.

“Mmm. It’s why I asked you out,” I tease. “You solved most of my problems just by agreeing.” Looking back, I realize just how true this is, though I doubt she’ll take me seriously.

Her lips curl in an obliging smile, and her eyes say it all, disbelieving in their beauty, corroborating what I already knew. But she’s still smiling, and I alone am responsible for that.

She curls her hand around the side of my neck, and I feel her thumb glide over the scar behind my earlobe, one I incurred at fourteen, when Lukas slammed my head into the bathroom mirror. Then I broke his collarbone. Both of us ended up in the emergency room that morning, an incident that resulted in our father leaving for work a half hour later. It’s always quieter when our father is home.

“How are you doing?” she asks, looking up to search my eyes.

I slide my hands from the small of her back to her waist, as my gaze sweeps from shoulder to shoulder. I can already feel the ground of normalcy beneath me, her presence holding the pieces of my life together, when it seems everything can come apart at any moment. “Good now that you’re here.”

This seems to make her both happy and sad. A look of gloom passes over her face even as a small smile touches her lips. Then her eyes trail down the front of my body, taking in my suit jacket and pants. “You look like a lawyer,” she comments. “Straight from the courtroom.”

I can’t remember a time when she’s ever seen me in a suit. The closest is the tux I wore to her senior prom two months ago, which is not much different than what I wear now.

“It suits you.”

I raise my eyebrows in doubt. “What? Looking like a lawyer?”

“Not just a lawyer. You look…professional.” Then, with a full smile, she adds, “I like it.”

“Ah,” I say, mirroring her smile as I grasp her meaning. “I like that you’re my biggest fan.”

Her teeth shine bright against her tan skin. She drops her arms to her sides, and I lace my fingers through hers. She smells of honeysuckle, vanilla, and lavender all at once, with soft underlying notes I can’t name, a scent that swirls inside me, tantalizing every cell in my body.

I lean forward, canting my head slightly to fit my lips to hers. I have to fight to keep the rhythm slow, to savor every second. But when her mouth opens, urgency builds within me, and I press farther. Too soon, though, she’s pulling away, leaving my blood pumping in a hot stream and my heart pounding against my chest. I place a hand on the wall behind her and lean forward, closing the narrow space she’s put between us.

“I wasn’t finished,” I say.

I’m already tilting my head to kiss her again when she stops me with one word. “Wait.”

“Wait?” I mutter against her lips.

I feel her palms on my chest, easing me back. It’s hard to concentrate on anything but touching her, but I slowly resign myself to the conversation that is apparently inevitable, when my only instinct is to kiss her. I straighten and meet her eyes, which does nothing to tame my thoughts.

“I got your note,” she says.

When I started mowing Mrs. Whitney’s lawn, Elizabeth gave me a key, so I could let myself in when they weren’t home. In the beginning, I would leave Raya notes on her dresser, not knowing at the time that she’d actually keep them. When she showed me every note I’d ever written her, my first instinct was to laugh, because it seemed senseless. But then I saw how impressed she was and felt empowered that I could make her so happy. She probably has a shoebox full of notes by now.

I back her against the wall until we’re touching from hips to shoulders. Her eyes, as warm and green as summer leaves, meet mine. She’s looking at me as if I did something amazing, but just in case, I ask, “Is that all? Or is there something else you want to add, because I’d really like to kiss you right now?”

Her eyes dip momentarily to my mouth. “I was going to thank you for the note, but you distracted me.”

“You don’t need words for that.”

Render Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Author Discussion with Historical Fiction Novelist Jodi Day

Hello readers! I hope you enjoyed my second installment of Top 10 Tuesday. Visit again next Tuesday for another Top 10 list! For now, though, I wanted to share with you the Novel Publicity discussion event with highly acclaimed author Jodi Day on Goodreads with huge prizes available. And join me back here on the blog tomorrow for the final day of Stephanie Fleshman’s Render blog tour–and don’t forget to enter in the giveaway for those huge prizes, too!

Jodi

Support an awesome author and enter to WIN a Kindle Fire, a $50 Amazon Gift Card and an autographed copy of The Midwife’s Revolt

We’ll be doing an event every hour on the hour with prizes throughout as well as a day long giveaway for a Kindle Fire! Each event will have clues for extra entries so check back in often. So hop over to GoodReads between 10AM and 8PM EST! Come back throughout the day to get more inside info about Jodi, The Midwife’s Revolt and have some fun!

Join us on GoodReads

The Midwife’s Revolt is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon this novel is rich in detail, character and intrigue! The Midwife’s Revolt takes the reader on a journey to the founding days of America. It follows one woman’s path, Lizzie Boylston, from her grieving days of widowhood after Bunker Hill, to her deepening friendship with Abigail Adams and midwifery, and finally to her dangerous work as a spy for the Cause. A novel rich in historical detail, The Midwife’s Revolt opens a window onto the real lives of colonial women.

“A charming, unexpected, and decidedly different view of the Revolutionary War.”
— Publishers Weekly

We have a lot of fun things planned So come on over!

Time Event
10am 10 things you didn’t know about Jodi
11am Trivia Game #1
12noon Q&A #1
1pm Picture Caption Contest
2pm Excerpts -w/ Discussion Questions? #1
3pm Trivia Game #2
4pm Excerpts w/ Discussion Questions? #2
5pm Cooking Discussion
6pm Contest
7pm Q&A #2
8pm Announce Winner!

3DCoverAbout the Book: The Midwife’s Revolt takes the reader on a journey to the founding days of America. It follows one woman’s path, Lizzie Boylston, from her grieving days of widowhood after Bunker Hill, to her deepening friendship with Abigail Adams and midwifery, and finally to her dangerous work as a spy for the Cause. Much has been written about our founding men. But The Midwife’s Revolt is unique in that it opens a window onto the lives of our founding women as well.

About the Author: Jodi Daynard is a writer of fiction, essays, and criticism. Her work has appeared in numerous periodicals, including The New York Times Book Review, The Village Voice, The Paris Review, Agni, New England Review and in several anthologies. She is the author of The Place Within: Portraits of the American Landscape by 20 Contemporary Writers (W. W. Norton). Ms. Daynard’s essays have been nominated for several prizes and mentioned in Best American Essays. She has taught writing at Harvard University, M.I.T., and in the MFA program at Emerson College, and served for seven years as Fiction Editor at Boston Review. The Midwife’s Revolt is her first novel.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hey! Don’t miss the fun next time around. Join us as an official blog tour host for free review copies, blog content, and lots of prizes! You can learn more HERE, then sign-up HERE.

Guest Post by Stephanie Fleshman, author of “Render”: The 5 Guys of YA Fiction

I hope you all had a good weekend! It seems that summer is reminding us that it’s not over yet, with temperatures climbing near 100° F this week! I know I’ll miss it as soon as it gets colder, though. 😉

Today marks the kick-off of the Novel Publicity whirlwind blog tour for Stephanie Fleshman’s Render: A Recompense. Today, I’ll be featuring a fun guest post written by Fleshman about the 5 most common male archetypes of YA fiction. Check back tomorrow on the blog for my next installment of “Top 10 Tuesdays.” I’ll also be featuring more about Fleshman and her novel throughout the week, as well as awesome giveaways. 

Please enjoy this guest post by Stephanie Fleshman, author of the enticing Paranormal YA, Render. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

The 5 Guys You’ll Meet in YA Fiction:

A Guest Post by Stephanie Fleshman

According to GalleyCat, YA eBook revenues increased 120.9% last year. The great news is whatever YA male character types keep you reading, it’s unlikely you’ll run out of books anytime soon. After a while contemplating my favorite YA reads, I noticed a pattern when it came to the male heroes in these stories. Without further ado, here’s a run-down of the 5 guys you’re likely to meet when reading a Young Adult novel…

Guy #1: The Broken and Vulnerable

When I think of broken, I think of Josh from Barry Lyga’s Boy Toy. The sad thing about Josh is that he knows he’s broken but blames himself instead of the person at fault.

When I think of vulnerable, two characters come to mind: Sam from Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series and Cabel from Lisa McMann’s Wake series. Cabel is doused with gasoline, then set on fire by his alcoholic father. He wants to be loved, yet is scared. What makes him strong in a not-in-your-face kind of way is that he wants to love. His lack of resentment and hate is what makes him attractive.

Guy #2: The Abusive

In Jennifer Brown’s Bitter End, Cole is the product of “like father, like son.” In Swati Avasthi’s YA novel Split, however, Jace is the product of being victimized by his own abuser. Unlike Cole, Jace is capable of remorse and guilt. He not only owns up to his actions, but he wants to pay for them. By comparison, Jace makes Cole look like a sociopath.

Guy #3: The Obsessive

It’s no secret that Edward from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga is borderline stalker when it comes to Bella. She is his world entirely. In his mind, though, he is only being protective. So, is Edward protective, overprotective, or obsessive? You decide:

  • Protective: Capable of or intended to protect someone or something.
  • Overprotective: Having a tendency to protect someone, esp. a child, excessively.
  • Obsessive: Of, relating to, characteristic of, or causing an obsession; Excessive in degree or nature.

Guy #4: The Dominant

A good example of this type of YA male lead character is Patch from Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series. Patch is 100% boy. He’s self-confident, strong, and stands his ground against Nora. Though he is dominating, I don’t believe it’s in a harmful or abusive manner.

In the second book, you get to see more into his heart as he begins to really care for Nora’s well-being.

By the third book, he’s thinking of Nora’s safety and how he can stay with her. He sacrifices what he wants in order to protect her and their relationship, which seems non-existent to Nora by this stage. Not everything is what it seems, though.

Other good examples are Alex from Simone Elkeles’s Perfect Chemistry and Avi from the same author’s How to Ruin series.

Guy #5: The Lovable

I’m going to start with Koldan from my own YA novel, Render. Koldan is firm but not so dominating that he feels the need to control. He’s confident and strong, but recognizes his weaknesses. He’s romantic in the sense that he will do whatever it takes to keep Raya safe, even if it means risking his own life. And he’s not afraid to show his feelings for Raya.

Now, I cannot move forward without mentioning Holder from Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. Thirteen years! Thirteen!!! That’s all I’m going to say. Those of you who have read Hopeless know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t, there’s nothing about this guy not to love.

Now I’ve got a question for you: What’s your favorite YA male character type?

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About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

“Aloha, Mozart,” by Waimea Williams, Review–Novel Publicity Blog Tour

Hello readers! Tonight, I have the pleasure of being a Novel Publicity Blog Tour host for Waimea Williams’s Aloha, Mozart, from Luminis Books. It’s a beautiful story combining several of my favorite interests–classical music, Hawaii, and Europe–but one that I might not have picked up on my own. I’m very glad I did, and I hope by the end of this review, you might be inspired to, as well. Read on for more info about the book, my review, and prizes!

About the book: Would you risk your life–or your soul–for the sake of art?

Born into an impoverished Hawaiian family in the 1960s, Maile Manoa’s quest for a life in music lures her to the high-stakes world of European opera. In Salzburg, Austria she attracts the attentions of powerful men and falls in love–with a troubled young musician, with the city, and the intrigue that surrounds her.

When Werner von Wehlen, the famous conductor at the center of Salzburg’s glamorous music festival, offers her a leading role, she is forced to confront the Nazi heart of the classical music scene and von Wehlen’s treacherous past.

With Soviet tanks threatening to invade the city on the evening of her much-anticipated premiere, Maile must choose between recognition on the world stage or leaving the city with her life–and her conscience–intact.

This debut novel hits all the right notes–following in the spell-casting footsteps of Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto.

My review guidelines: As you know from my first Novel Publicity review, I HATE spoilers as a reader, so as a reviewer, I avoid them as best as possible. As a writer and an editor, I put a lot of value on the language itself used to tell a tale. A 10/10 review for me will be one with an amazing plot, characters I love, and enchanting writing. I can’t get lost in a book without falling under the spell of its words–and the spell will be ineffectual without a great plot to fall into.

With that said, please enjoy my review.

Aloha, Mozart

“Aloha, Mozart” is Waimea Williams’s debut novel from Luminis Books. Click the image to purchase this book.

Review

I was shocked to discover this award-winning book was a debut novel from Waimea Williams. Upon reading the author’s bio, which I will include below, I did learn that she has won numerous awards in the past–including the illustrious Glimmer Train–as well as having completed a writing residency. This prior experience would explain how polished this writing was, but it does not diminish how impressed I was!

I would classify this as an adult historical fiction novel. I think the book would most appeal to mature teens and adults, especially those who have an interest in music performance/music theory.

The world: Although the novel took place in several different locations, each was authentically enchanting. Details so minute and charming that only an artist would notice made you feel like you were seeing the world through the main character’s eyes and walking in her shoes. From my own music background, I can personally attest that the sections about music and performance were impeccably described. While I found the heavy level of music detail fascinating, I could see how it might be off-putting to someone who might not be interested in music. I think that you have to have some kind of artistic passion, be it writing, drawing, etc., to connect with this book, and I think the deepest level of connection occurs for music performers (I, personally, was mesmerized). Williams’s Hawaiian origin and operatic background shone through in the text when she described the lush, mesmerizing setting and ethereal singing. Hawaii is one of my favorite places on earth, and classical music is my favorite genre. No wonder they inspired such a desire to express beauty from its…

Characters: I loved Maile Manoa from the very first time you meet her. You see–no, you feel–how she experiences music, and you hope you get to spend the rest of the book in her point-of-view. She is a complex character who is coming into her own, figuring out priorities and making mistakes along the way. She is passionate, sensitive, courageous, and vulnerable; even though she’s not using any weapon but her voice, I would classify her as a Strong Female Character. I don’t think I can talk too much about the other characters without revealing too much of the plot, but I will say that they were well-designed, too. None were as amazing as Maile, but that’s OK; I think it was a good choice to let her shine amongst the rest of the cast.

The plot didn’t come with the nonstop action you would expect from an adventure novel, but that kind of pace wouldn’t mesh well with this story. It was a slower-moving but beautiful journey; sort of like a scenic river cruise, with plenty of surprising turns to keep your interest. Williams represented the mystery, high stakes, and drama well, throughout the novel. The message of this plot is SO IMPORTANT, and it takes the entire novel to earn such a poignant message. You can see a hint of what I mean with one of my favorite quotes, which I’ll include as part of…

The language: “No one owns music,” [he] said…And the divine became human. The ageless gift, the spiritual resonance of music based on selfless love.” Oh my goodness. Jewels like this were sprinkled all throughout the text, but this was one of my favorite. Doesn’t it just sum up the way your heart swells when you interact with a poignant piece of work–be it music, literature, etc.? The generous lyricism and insight offered in this text make the language my favorite aspect of the novel. Readers with some familiarity with Hawaiian vocabulary will enjoy additional meaning from the text (even the multiple meanings embedded in the title), but it is not necessary to the enjoyment of the book.

Review: 10/10. Phenomenal! I am a lifelong fan of the author.

About the author: Originally from Hawaii, Waimea Williams spent a decade in Austria and Germany as an opera singer and has received fiction awards from Glimmer Train, The Lorian Hemingway Competition, and Salamander Review. She has enjoyed the honor of a writing residency at the Ragdale Foundation, and her short story “Vienna Quartet With Dog” received First Prize from the Charlton Review in 2012. She currently lives near Honolulu. Connect with Waimea on her website, Facebook, or GoodReads.

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win either of two $25 Amazon gift cards, an autographed copy of Aloha, Mozart by Waimea Williams, or an autographed copy of its tour mate, Maybe I Will by Laurie Gray. Here’s what you need to do…

  • Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  • Leave a comment on my blog.

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form on the official Luminis Duo tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

Luminis Books was launched in January, 2010 by husband and wife team Tracy Richardson and Chris Katsaropoulos with a mission to publish thought-provoking literary fiction for children and adults. We publish what we love: Meaningful Books That Entertain. Our award-winning books engage and inform readers and explore a wide range of topics from love and relationships, teen sexual assault and homelessness to string theory, consciousness, and the Universal Energy Field. Luminis Books is a proudly independent publisher located in Carmel, IN. Learn more at www.luminisbooks.com.

Learn more about Aloha, Mozart‘s tour mate HERE.