Blog Tour: June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

June

June by Miranda Beverly-Whitemore. Crown. 400 pp.

Hello, and welcome to today’s stop on TLC’s tour for June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore! Before we get to my review, check out the synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet comes a novel of suspense and passion about a terrible mistake made sixty years ago that threatens to change a modern family forever. 

Twenty-five-year-old Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family’s crumbling mansion in rural St. Jude, Ohio, mourning the loss of the woman who raised her—her grandmother, June. But a knock on the door forces her out of isolation. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary matinee idol Jack Montgomery’s vast fortune. How did Jack Montgomery know her name? Could he have crossed paths with her grandmother all those years ago? What other shocking secrets could June’s once-stately mansion hold?

Soon Jack’s famous daughters come knocking, determined to wrestle Cassie away from the inheritance they feel is their due. Together, they all come to discover the true reasons for June’s silence about that long-ago summer, when Hollywood came to town, and June and Jack’s lives were forever altered by murder, blackmail, and betrayal. As this page-turner shifts deftly between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages.

MyReview

I requested this book because it sounded interesting. I don’t like to write negative reviews for tours, so I only agree to read books that catch my eye and that I expect to enjoy. While I expected to like this one, I was surprised by how much I liked it.

Let’s talk about the time periods. Half the book takes place in 1955, half in 2015. I enjoyed that Cassie (2015) didn’t have an Internet connection or a smartphone because it made the mystery last a little longer. I find it so refreshing when a book has the bare minimum in terms of technology; although I make frequent use of Google, I enjoy it more when characters have to search for clues the old-fashioned way. And the 1955 chapters? I adored them. Hollywood moving into a small town was an excellent tension-builder!

As far as the characters, they’re pretty flawed, but in the best possible way. Sometimes readers complain about not “liking” a character, but that’s never been an issue for me. The problem is when an author can’t make me care at all about what happens to said characters. And I needed to know what was going to happen to the people in June!

The pacing was also excellent. Each chapter revealed a bit more information while also posing new questions. I kept promising myself I’d only read one more chapter…then I’d check my phone and it’d be 1:30 AM! (I have two kids and really can’t afford to be up that late on a regular basis, but when a book is this intriguing I don’t have much of a choice.)

Finally, the writing. Some writers can tell enthralling stories, but their writing just isn’t my style. Others have a beautiful way with words, but their stories never seem to go anywhere. June was a pleasant surprise: I couldn’t seem to put the book down, and I enjoyed Beverly-Whittemore’s language immensely.

All in all: I’m so glad I had the chance to read this book. I enjoyed it so much that I added Bittersweet, another novel by the same author, to my ever-expanding TBR.

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MIRANDA BEVERLY-WHITTEMORE is the author of three other novels: New York Times bestseller Bittersweet; Set Me Free, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, given annually for the best book of fiction by an American woman; and The Effects of Light. A recipient of the Crazyhorse Prize in Fiction, she lives and writes in Brooklyn.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

OtherTourStops

Tuesday, May 24th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, May 25th: A Literary Vacation
Thursday, May 26th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, May 30th: Buried Under Books
Tuesday, May 31st: FictionZeal
Tuesday, May 31st: Books a la Mode  – author guest post
Wednesday, June 1st: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Thursday, June 2nd: Luxury Reading
Monday, June 6th: Kahakai Kitchen
Monday, June 6th: Must Read Faster
Tuesday, June 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, June 8th: Fictionophile
Thursday, June 9th: Just Commonly
Friday, June 10th: A Bookaholic Swede
Monday, June 13th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, June 14th: Reading Reality
Wednesday, June 15th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Thursday, June 16th: Write Read Life
Friday, June 17th: Bibliotica

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Blog Tour: Without Light or Guide (Los Nefilim #2) by T. Frohock

Hello, and welcome! Today I’m kicking off the blog tour for T. Frohock’s Without Light or Guide, sequel to In Midnight’s Silence.

Without Light or Guide cover

Without Light or Guide by T. Frohock. Harper Voyager Impulse. 128 pp.

The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind…

Always holding themselves aloft from the affairs of mortals, Los Nefilim have thrived for eons. But with the Spanish Civil War looming, their fragile independence is shaken by the machinations of angels and daimons…and a half-breed caught in-between.

For although Diago Alvarez has pledged his loyalty to Los Nefilim, there are many who don’t trust his daimonic blood. And with the re-emergence of his father—a Nefil who sold his soul to a daimon—the fear is Diago will soon follow the same path.

Yet even as Diago tries to prove his allegiance, events conspire that only fuel the other Nefilim’s suspicions—including the fact that every mortal Diago has known in Barcelona is being brutally murdered.

The second novella in T. Frohock’s Los Nefilim series, Without Light or Guide continues Diago’s journey through a world he was born into, yet doesn’t quite understand.

MyReview

I have lots of reading rules that I abide by: if you like an ebook or library book enough, buy a hard copy for your collection; buy your favorite authors’ works on release day to support them and make sure their publishers sign them for more and more books; don’t dog-ear the pages; read the book before seeing the movie; and don’t read a series out of order. Of course, I break these rules sometimes, but reallllly rarely. I watched season one of Game of Thrones before reading the books, and I’m glad I did, because it got me interested enough to pick up them up (their page count alone could have easily seen them sitting on my TBR for years like the Wheel of Time series).

When I was asked to participate in this blog tour, I knew the featured book was a sequel. Sometimes I’ll ask a publicist to send the first book as well so I can read the series in order, but things have been busy lately, so jumping in at book two would have to do this time around. The author did something wonderful, though: she included an author’s note at the beginning that summarized the important characters and plot points of the first book, both as a refresher for returning readers and an entry point for new ones. I’d never seen this done before and was overwhelmed by it at first; I felt like I was cramming for a test and worried that I wouldn’t be able to remember everything while reading. But the note was informative without being overly long, and it made my experience with the sequel almost effortless. I was skeptical, but it was an enormous help, and it didn’t get in the way of the narrative at all.

Without Light or Guide is a great story; so much is packed into its brief page count that you’ll never believe that you read a little over a hundred pages and got an entire tale out of the experience. It’s a combination of fantasy and historical fiction (although the dialogue seems a bit modern), and the supernatural characters are human enough to make the reader forget at times who is an angel or daimon and who is not. This makes the characters’ lives in the real world believable.

The themes are both ancient and modern: love, trust, judgment, family, loyalty, and hunger for power. These themes are present in many works of fiction, but Frohock presents them in a story that is entirely new (at least, to me; I’ve never read anything like this before).

All in all: An entertaining, interesting story with direct, economic writing. If you already enjoy supernatural fiction and are looking for a quick read, check it out. And if you don’t typically read this genre, it’s a great way to get a taste for it without having to commit to a large page count!

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About the author: T. Frohock has turned her love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. She currently lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. Check out more of her works and news at www.tfrohock.com.

OtherTourStops

Wednesday, December 2nd: Kahakai Kitchen

Thursday, December 3rd: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Monday, December 7th: Bibliotica

Tuesday, December 8th: Dreams, Etc.

Wednesday, December 9th: A Book Geek

Thursday, December 10th: A Dream Within a Dream

Monday, December 14th: From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, December 15th: Raven Haired Girl

Wednesday, December 16th: Dwell in Possibility

Thursday, December 17th: Curling Up by the Fire

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Blog Tour: Mendocino Fire by Elizabeth Tallent

Mendocino Fire by Elizabeth Tallent. 272 pp. Harper.

Mendocino Fire by Elizabeth Tallent. 272 pp. Harper.

The son of an aging fisherman becomes ensnared in a violent incident that forces him to confront his broken relationship with his father. A woman travels halfway across the country to look for her ex-husband, only to find her attention drawn in a surprising direction. A millworker gives safe harbor to his son’s pregnant girlfriend, until an ambiguous gesture upsets their uneasy equilibrium. These and other stories—of yearning, loss, and tentative new connections—come together in Mendocino Fire, the first new collection in two decades from the widely admired Elizabeth Tallent.

Diverse in character and setting, rendered in an exhilarating, exacting prose, these stories confirm Tallent’s enduring gift for capturing relationships in moments of transformation: marriages breaking apart, people haunted by memories of old love and reaching haltingly toward new futures. The result is a book that reminds us how our lives are shaped by moments of fracture and fragmentation, by expectations met and thwarted, and by our never-ending quest to be genuinely seen.

Profound yet elemental, Mendocino Fire marks the welcome return of a sage and surprising voice in American fiction.

Hello, and welcome to the blog tour for Medocino Fire, an excellent collection of short stories by Elizabeth Tallent. I absolutely love short stories, but I often struggle with reading an entire collection at a time; since each story stands on its own, I tend to treat them like tiny novels, reading one and then moving on to another book. After finishing the book, I’ll pick up the collection of stories again and read another one or two, then move on to another novel. That’s how I read this collection, a bit here and there between half a dozen other books, and it worked well for me. It’s a solid collection, one that’s a pleasure to dip into from time to time.

MyReview

Each story feels longer than it is, fitting an entire tale, what feels like an entire life, into twenty or thirty pages. At times I almost forgot I was reading a short story collection; I felt like I’d spent so much time with these characters that I couldn’t have possibly read a mere ten pages! This is a testament to Tallent’s economic use of words and, more than that, her uncanny ability to choose just the right words. The right sentence can do a chapter’s worth of work; I’ve always admired writers than can get the point across in such a brief manner (I’m not very good at brief). I’m blown away when I feel ten pages’ worth of emotion after reading less than a paragraph.

The stories are varied in characters — from writers and professors to nomadic youths; from children to parents to deeply, darkly devoted grandparents —  but there’s an underlying sense of loneliness, as though all of the characters can only be understood so much by the people surrounding them. I’ve been hearing a lot about characters’ likability lately; many readers want to like the main characters, and authors seem to rail against this. I fall somewhere in between: I don’t need to like characters (in fact, I can downright loathe them), but I need to care about what happens to them. And in this collection, I really did. I felt immersed in each character’s life; Tallent made me feel like I knew these characters better than anyone else did, and that understanding made me want to find out where they ended up. (Yes, folks, it’s true: reading does built empathy.)

My favorite story by far was “Mystery Caller,” in which a woman habitually (and anonymously) dials her ex-husband’s phone number and eavesdrops on his new life. It asks a moving question: When does love end? (Or, maybe, Does love end?) I also liked “Narrator,” an exploration of a young woman’s affair with an established author and her outrage at their relationship’s lack of “literary resolution” (of course, that’s not the true source of outrage) when he writes about it later. Although many of the tales in this collection moved slowly, the pace felt thoughtful and deliberate. The only one that didn’t really do anything for me was the title story; it was the only one that felt too long and, at least for me, lacked resolution.

I love novels because they remind me of what fiction can do, the beautiful experience of spending so much time with another person, seeing so much of his life. Novels allow for more scenes, more plot twists, more dialogue, and I enjoy being with the same characters for hundreds of pages so that I can really see it all. But I love short stories because they remind me of what words can do, the piercing power they have when strung together correctly, even — or maybe especially —  in small doses. It takes a certain (and rare) sort of focus to write good short fiction, and I always delight when I see it. Tallent is one of the good ones, and I really enjoyed this collection.

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Elizabeth Tallent

Elizabeth Tallent is the author of the story collections HoneyIn Constant Flight, and Time with Children, and the novel Museum Pieces. Since 1994 she has taught in the Creative Writing program at Stanford University. She lives on the Mendocino coast of California.

OtherTourStops

Tuesday, October 20th: Books on the Table

Friday, October 23rd: Bibliotica

Monday, October 26th: A Bookish Way of Life

Tuesday, October 27th: Back Porchervations

Wednesday, October 28th: Olduvai Reads

Thursday, October 29th: she treads softly

Friday, October 30th: M. Denise Costello

Tuesday, November 3rd: Read. Write. Repeat.

Friday, November 6th: Raven Haired Girl

Monday, November 9th: Lavish Bookshelf

Tuesday, November 10th: Dreams, Etc.

Wednesday, November 11th: You Can Read Me Anything

Thursday, November 12th: The Well-Read Redhead

Friday, November 13th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Shady Cross by James Hankins

Shady Cross by James Hankins. Thomas & Mercer. 308 pp.

Shady Cross by James Hankins. Thomas & Mercer. 308 pp.

In one hand, small-time crook Stokes holds a backpack stuffed with someone else’s money—three hundred and fifty thousand dollars of it.

In the other hand, Stokes has a cell phone, which he found with the money. On the line, a little girl he doesn’t know asks, “Daddy? Are you coming to get me? They say if you give them the money they’ll let you take me home.”

From bestselling author James Hankins comes a wrenching story of an unscrupulous man torn between his survival instincts and the plight of a true innocent. Faced with the choice, Stokes discovers his conscience might not be as corroded as he thought.


I’m always nervous when I agree to be part of a blog tour. I mean, what if I don’t like the book?! It’s difficult to post a negative review as part of a tour, and yet I still want to be honest, so there’s always a bit of anxiety when I start reading a book I’ll be featuring. I needn’t have worried in this case, though, because the only problem I had with Shady Cross is that I enjoyed it so much that I want to read more of James Hankins’s books! (And no, I’m not just saying that to be nice. That’s not what I do.)

Let me start by saying that I don’t read many suspense books. It’s not that I dislike them, but since suspense isn’t one of my top genres, I often feel overwhelmed by the number of options. Rather than figuring out where to start, I just stick to my usual fare. But when Lisa from TLC sent me the synopsis for this one, I was hooked. I was dying to read it and was thrilled to have the chance to do so. (I recently mentioned this book to my mom, which I do whenever I’m really enjoying a book. When I told her what it was about, she literally gasped. It’s that great of a concept.)

Shady Cross lived up to my expectations and then some. I had a difficult time putting it down…and that’s saying something, considering how little sleep I’ve been getting lately. There have been times when I view dilemmas in a suspense novel as cheap ploys to keep the reader invested in the story. Maybe I’ve been reading the wrong books, though, because in this case, all Stokes’s troubles made me want to do is get into the next chapter as quickly as possible.

The characters in this book were different for me, too: I didn’t actually like (m)any of them, but that didn’t stop me from flying through the pages to see how their situations turned out. Stokes is a brilliantly-executed protagonist. He’s done more bad than good in his life, but that doesn’t stop you from rooting for him as he makes an honest effort to save a little girl. Although he’s more sinner than savior, he goes much further than you could expect for a stranger’s daughter. Reading this book made me wonder how many people I know — myself included — would be willing to do the same.

All in all: A story of struggle and redemption that’s an absolute pleasure to read. A piece of genre fiction with wide-ranging appeal; I can’t imagine anyone that wouldn’t like this.

If this sounds like a book you might enjoy, then I’ve got great news: I have a copy to give away! I’m unable to post the Rafflecopter widget directly on my blog, so click below if you’d like to enter.

GiveawayClickHere

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Bestselling author James Hankins pursued writing at an early age. While attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he received the Chris Columbus Screenwriting Award. After career detours into screenwriting, health administration, and the law, Hankins recommitted himself to writing fiction. Since then, he has written three popular thrillers, each of which spent time in the Kindle Top 100. Additionally, Brothers and Bones received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and was named to their list of Best Books of 2013, while both Jack of Spades and Drawn were Amazon #1 bestsellers. He lives with his wife and twin sons just north of Boston.

OtherTourStops

Tuesday, February 24th: Vic’s Media Room 

Wednesday, February 25th:  Book Dilettante

Thursday, February 26th: Bell, Book & Candle

Friday, February 27th: 5 Minutes for Books

Wednesday, March 4th: Life is Story

Thursday, March 5th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Monday, March 9th: Daily Mayo

Tuesday, March 10th: A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, March 12th: Kissin Blue Karen

Monday, March 16th: FictionZeal

Wednesday, March 18th: Mary’s Cup of Tea

Thursday, March 19th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, March 19th: Building Bookshelves

Monday, March 23rd: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Wednesday, March 25th: Booksie’s Blog

Monday, March 30th: Brooke Blogs

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Interview & Book Review: Jim Morgan and the Door at the Edge of the World by James Matlack Raney

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Jim Morgan and the Door at the Edge of the World by James Matlack Raney. Dreamfarer Press. 396 pp.

An Ancient Temple… 

An Unimaginable Power… 
The Final Chapter of the Jim Morgan Saga! 

Jim Morgan and his friends, Lacey and the Brothers Ratt, have so far managed to keep their half of the Hunter’s Shell safe from the Cromiers, preventing them from finding the Treasure of the Ocean. But the danger is far from over. The Count and Bartholomew are closing in on the Spectre. And an old enemy from the past has returned, armed with dark plans of his own. A desperate battle is brewing – one Jim can’t outrun forever. 

From the underwater kingdom of the Merfolk, to a desolate stretch of ocean called the Wastewaters, Jim and his friends will seek the aid of new allies and risk their lives against villains more wicked than they have ever faced before. 

In his heart, Jim knows the journey will end only once he has taken possession of the Treasure of the Ocean, and only once he has faced the ultimate test, before a door at the edge of the world, with the fate of more than he ever imagined at stake…

It’s that time again: time for me to tell you all about how much I love the Jim Morgan series. (Missed my posts on books one and two? Check them out here and here, respectively.) Before I dive into my review of the third and final book, though, I’ve got a special treat: an interview with author James Matlack Raney!

Interview

When you were writing book one, did you know how things would end for Jim? Or did Jim’s fate reveal itself as you were writing? 

That’s a great question, because it actually changed as the books went along. Without giving away too many spoilers, when I first started, I had a vision for where I wanted Jim to go as a character and what I wanted him to learn. The whole story is really just about a boy who loses his father and has to discover who he is all on his own. The theme of weathering the storms of life was, to me, essential to that story. So the ultimate villain was actually going to be an earlier version of the Crimson Storm. He made it into the stories, but not in quite the same capacity. As I kept writing, I realized that Jim’s greatest threats would always come from within and that he and Bartholomew were actually mirror images of each other, struggling with many of the same choices and failures. So that really shaped how the third book unfolded.

The seafaring chapters are great. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were raised on a pirate ship! Where does your sailing knowledge come from? 

I wish I could say that I was a sailing master, but the truth is, all I had going for me were some brief memories of sailing on my grandfather’s boat when I was very young. I’ve been on several boats between then and now, and I have a fascination with the ocean and sailing, but most of the sailing scenes were informed by books or the trusty internet.

Tell me about the decisions regarding which characters to keep through the entire series. Was it difficult to have certain characters die or part ways? 

It was difficult, because even though they’re fantasy, all of my characters represent a little piece of myself or my past, so there’s an emotional connection. I will say that there was one character who was not going to make it, and was killed in the official outline for book three. But my good friends and readers politely informed me that it was an awful decision, so I changed it back. But I did think it was important to bring many of the characters from book one back, because how Jim and his friends interact with them shows how much they’ve grown and allows them to come back full circle, especially with the King of Thieves.

If you could experience a literary adventure, which book would you choose to be transported to? 

Wow! Too tough to call! But I’ll go with a trip through the wardrobe into Narnia for now. That would be pretty amazing.

What project(s) are you working on now? 

I’ve started a new novel for young readers, and I hope to have a first draft finished by the end of February. It’s not set in the world of Jim Morgan at all. In fact, it may not be set in the world of people at all! But I also have some more grown-up fare working its way out there. I have a horror short story set to be published in Hello Horror in April, so that’s exciting.

And finally, my favorite question to ask my favorite writers: What are you currently reading? 

Right now I’m still reading The Kite Runner. It’s an amazing, emotionally powerful book. I tend to read very slowly while I’m writing, then after that first draft is finished I gobble up about eight or ten novels and books in short order before it’s on to revisions and the next project.

MyReview

The final installment of the Jim Morgan series lives up to the promise of the first two books. There’s just as much magic, just as much adventure and excitement, and just as much (if not more) heart.

Jim and his friends have grown older and a bit wiser as the series has gone on, but they haven’t changed so much as to be unrecognizable: Peter and Paul are at one another’s throats from time to time, Lacey is fiery and loyal, and Cornelius alternates between sharing helpful facts and boring everyone (nearly) to tears. My favorite new character was Captain Sharpe, a Jack-Sparrow-esque pirate who alternates between infuriatingly manipulative and admirably savvy.

None of Raney’s characters are perfect, and that makes them all the more endearing and believable. They have backstories that provide motivation for their actions, both right and wrong. This allows readers to really get to know the characters and sympathize with them. It also gives the story a level of depth that kids’ stories sometimes lack but that gives them staying power.

Since the beginning of book one, my heart broke for Jim, as it did for Harry Potter, because he had to grow up far too soon. However, he’s learned and grown quite a bit over the course of the series, and I am proud of how far he’s come. I was moved by his interactions with his various “father figures” and loved it when he started to become the sort of man he admired. I was also happy to gain a glimpse into the thoughts of the other characters, particularly Lacey and George.

This book has a lot more going for it than great characters, though. There’s tons of adventure on land, ship, and sea (even under the sea!). There’s magic — and magical creatures — galore. There are pirates and battles and danger. There’s even a touch of romance. (It was refreshing to see that Jim’s first crush was included once he was a little older; too many try books to force the love stuff to happen when the characters are still so young that it’s unbelievable.)

All in all: A wonderful conclusion to a series filled with memorable characters, tons of adventure, and great lessons in friendship. I can’t wait to read these with my boys when they get older!

Lots of gratitude to James Matlack Raney, both for the opportunity to read and review his books and for taking the time to answer my questions. (I can’t wait to hear what his next project will be!)

Blog Tour: Outside In by Doug Cooper

Welcome! I am today’s stop on the blog tour for Doug Cooper’s novel, Outside In. I’m actually the final stop on the tour, but please feel free to check out the previous stops, which I’ve oh-so-conveniently included at the end of this post.

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Outside In by Doug Cooper. Greenleaf Book Group Press. 253 pp.

 

From Memorial Day until the student workers and tourists leave in the fall, the island community of Put-In-Bay, Ohio, thrives on alcohol, drugs, sexual experimentation, and any other means of forgetting responsibilities. To Brad Shepherd–recently forced out of his job as a junior high math teacher after the overdose death of a student–it’s exactly the kind of place he’s looking for.

 

 

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? The opening scene of this book is shocking in the best possible way. I know the description tells you that a student will overdose, but I either forgot or didn’t realize how soon it would happen. It’s a pivotal scene, and it happens right at the start, yanking you out of your comfort zone from the get-go. And don’t expect to be any more comfortable with the subject matter coming up!

As Brad moves away from his safe, responsible life as a math teacher and into that of a bouncer/drug abuser/heavy drinker/etc., things slowly spiral out of control. The depths to which Brad descends are chronicled well without being too heavily detailed. His time on the island is a sort of whirlwind of hedonism, and the narrative portrays this well. It’s occasionally difficult to tell how much time has passed, and that serves the story well: one day blurs into the next for the reader as well as for Brad.

The lifestyle on the island was vividly painted and highly believable for such a popular vacation destination. It made sense that most of the employees would party heavily, but I was surprised that everyone got in on it to such an extreme extent. Even Astrid, The Girl in the book, who’s portrayed as having goals and going places, does cocaine on a regular basis. Is there really not a single person that works on the island that goes home at night and just goes to bed? Some of the drug scenes got overly technical, too, which distracted me from what was going on. (For instance, the detailed, almost clinical detailing of how to boil shrooms.) These passages read like a textbook or wiki entry on how to prep drugs rather than sounding the way people actually talk.

My biggest issue with this book is that Brad’s journey just wasn’t believable to me. He’s a math teacher in his thirties, for goodness’ sake! I was a teacher, and I know many teachers, and I can’t think of a single one that would behave this childishly and irresponsibly. I understand that the grieving process can be different for different people, but I still found Brad’s behavior to be highly unlikely.

All in all: An exploration of two very different ways of life: an irresponsible escape that ultimately ends in growth.

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DOUG COOPER has traveled to more than twenty countries on five continents and has held jobs in service, teaching, and business. He now lives and writes in Las Vegas. Outside In is his first novel.

Connect with Doug on Facebook | Twitter |Pinterest  | Instagram @dougiecoop

 

OtherTourStops

Monday, April 14th:  Sara’s Organized Chaos

Wednesday, April 16th:  Bibliotica

Monday, April 21st:  A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, April 23rd:  Bewitched Bookworms

Thursday, April 24th:  Knowing the Difference

Monday, April 28th:  Literary Lindsey

Tuesday, April 29th:  Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, May 1st:  Luxury Reading

Monday, May 5th:  Literally Jen

Monday, May 12th:  100 Pages a Day… Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Thursday, May 15th: Brooke Blogs

Thursday, May 15th:  Cupcake’s Book Cupboard

Tuesday, May 20th:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf

Wednesday, May 21st:  Endless Days of Literary Ecstasy

Thursday, May 22nd:  Daily Mayo

Monday, May 26th:  Books a la Mode

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Blog Tour: Lemonade Revealed by Will Chluho

Lemonade Revealed by Will Chluho. Twiitaga. 248 pp.

Lemonade Revealed by Will Chluho. Twiitaga. 256 pp.

FICTION: A boy on a voyage to find his true father regained consciousness on an unknown island to the curious stares of three old men: a warrior, a trader, and a priest. The lost boy would later discover through a mysterious man–a skinhead with an eye tattoo on his neck–that one among the trio could be the father he’d been looking for….

NONFICTION: This “little yellow book” is a good place to reclaim such good old-fashioned gems as “faith” and “hope” under the demythologized light of human reason. It is a phenomenological examination on the possibility and probability of a divine existent vis-à-vis a real world of human frailties and frictions. Lemonade Revealed is a timely discourse in a timeless (and engaging) story.


Welcome! I’m happy to be today’s stop on the blog tour for Lemonade Revealed.

Let’s start with the superficial stuff: this is an attractive book. It’s got a soft, leather-like cover in a beautiful golden yellow. All words and images are stamped into the cover, and I found that I couldn’t stop rubbing my fingers over the indentations while I was reading. My husband actually thought it was a Moleskine or a travel notebook, which says something, because those books focus on the look and feel of their covers more than many paperbacks do.

“Enough about the lovely cover,” you say? “Tell me about the story”? Okay, will do! Lemonade Revealed is a sort of spiritual fable. It can sometimes feel a bit “preachy.” I don’t mean that I felt pushed toward a particular dogma; the author did an admirable job of presenting his ideas as spiritual and emotional rather than religious. However, I sometimes felt like I was being led — a bit too overtly — through the characters’ inner revelations. I prefer to draw my own conclusions after observing the characters in action. In the end, though, the revelations fell in line with the plot well.

The narrative could be dry at times, but the tone lent itself well to the ancient, sort of mythic feel of the story. The change between first- and third-person narration threw me off a couple of times, because I wasn’t sure whose story I was following, but I figured it out eventually. I enjoyed watching the young male protagonist (whose name is revealed late in the book, so I won’t give it away) seek his identity and place in the world. His chapters were the ones written in the first person, so I felt like I got to know him and his journey a bit better than the others.

Another thing I’d like to note is that this is a verrry male-centric book. Every character, with the exception of two minor ones, is male. I didn’t notice this as I was reading the book, but when my husband asked me what I thought of it, I said, “I think it will appeal to guys more than to girls.” He asked why, and when I stopped to think about it, I realized that it was because women aren’t represented in these pages at all. Even the most girl-character-heavy book I’ve read lately — Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, which rocked — includes about a dozen male characters, and none is flat by any means. That may have been the biggest downfall of Lemonade Revealed for me, not because I’m female, but because it felt unbalanced.

All in all: This book is a lot like life. At times it can be frustrating to figure out where things are going, but moments of epiphany are scattered throughout if you’re willing to stick with it.

OtherInfo

WillChluho

As an urban pragmatist, Will Chluho was a creative director who’d served on world-renowned brands such as BlackBerry, Mercedes-Benz, and Singapore Airlines. As a spiritual “romanticist” of sorts who sought solace, he’d lived four years as a Franciscan friar, a major in philosophy and theology. He’s 44, married, and advancing his philosophical studies with the University of London.

OtherTourStops

Monday, May 19th: Karen’s Korner Blog
Tuesday, May 20th: Honey I’m Reading
Thursday, May 22nd: The Most Happy Reader
Monday, May 26th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, May 28th: Cruising Susan Reviews
Thursday, May 29th: The Road to Here
Monday, June 2nd: Ms. Nose in a Book
Tuesday, June 3rd: I’d Rather Be At The Beach
Wednesday, June 4th: Back Porchervations
Thursday, June 5th:  Breezes at Dawn
Tuesday, June 10th: Karen’s Korner
Wednesday, June 11th: Diamonds in the Sky With Lucy
Thursday, June 12th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, June 13th: Forever Obsession
Wednesday, June 18th: guiltless reading
Thursday, June 19th: The Way Forward

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