Wednesday, May 26, 2021

05.26.2021 IT IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT: Creating Something Great from What You’ve Been Given by Justin McRoberts @tlcbooktours




Publisher : Thomas Nelson (June 1, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 208 pages
ISBN-10 : 0785239804


Justin McRoberts dares you to move beyond “it is what it is” thinking and become an agent of love and redemption in your household, neighborhood, and workplace.
“It is what it is”—a common phrase you hear and maybe even say yourself. But the truth is that there is not one square inch in the whole domain of our human existence that simply is what it is. Justin McRoberts invites you to embrace a new mindset: it is what you make of it.

With warmth, wisdom, and humor, McRoberts shares key moments from his twenty-plus years as an artist, church planter, pastor, singer-songwriter, author, neighbor, and father, passing on lessons and practices learned about making something good from what you’ve been given rather than simply accepting things as they are.

Thought-provoking but actionable, It Is What You Make of It declares that love doesn’t just win, mercy doesn’t just triumph, and light doesn’t just cast out shadow. Rather, such renewal requires the work of human hands and hearts committed to a vision of a world made right (or at least a little better). When we partner with God in these endeavors, we love the world well and honor the Creator in whose image we are made.

We will not be remembered for who our parents were or where we were born or what our socioeconomic circumstances were. We won’t be remembered for our natural talents and strengths or the opportunities we were given or the challenges we faced. In the end, each of us will be remembered for what we made with what we were given.

ADVANCED PRAISE:

'In this amazing book, McRoberts does what all great artists do: he invites us into the transformation that he's been willing to do first. That transformation is the hard, vulnerable, and life-giving work of not letting things just be as they seemingly are, but performing the alchemy of turning it into creative gold. The journey of learning how to do this is essential, and McRoberts is the best of guides.' --Scott Erickson Author of Honest Advent: Awakening to the Wonder of God-With-Us Then, Here, and Now

'Justin McRoberts is a consummate storyteller, and through story It Is What You Make of It imparts its gift--to remind us that we are made in the image of the Creator, that we are beloved works in progress with infinite opportunities to make more of what we have and who we are.' --Cameron Dezen Hammon Author of This Is My Body: A Memoir of Religious and Romantic Obsession

'Throughout the years, Justin's words have deeply resonated with me, and this book is no exception. With humility and honesty, Justin opens our eyes to see the often forgotten truth: we are beloved children of God, created by a God who created us for more than we can imagine. Throughout these pages, we are beautifully reminded that our time on earth deeply matters, and this life is not for nothing but most certainly for something. If you're looking to be inspired and encouraged, this book is for you.' --Tanner Olson Poet and author of I'm All Over the Place

'Most books on creativity are forgettable, and most books on purpose feel derivative. It Is What You Make of It is neither of those. Justin McRoberts has written an original, memorable book that will change the way you understand meaning and imagination. His stories and insights are more than regurgitated truisms; they are birthed from the experiences of a person who has spent years doing the hard work of actually creating. This book weaves together humor and advice, peppering each page with practical wisdom that any creative can incorporate into their own life rhythms. If you believe the world as it exists can be better and more beautiful--and if you feel called to help midwife that future--then you can't afford not to read this book.' --Jonathan Merritt Contributing writer for The Atlantic; author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch

'With humility, humor, and hard-won hope, Justin invites us all to take an honest look at how our experiences (even the cringeworthy ones) spark our creative spirits and shape our souls. It Is What You Make of It is like hanging out with a friend who manages to ask deep questions while making you laugh (and rethink some things) along the way.' --Kayla Craig Author of To Light Their Way; host of Upside Down Podcast

'Justin's ability to convincingly insist that there truly are no dead ends is both wondrously and painfully inspiring. It springs forth hope, even in the places I didn't want it to grow. Sometimes, to hope is to hurt, and It Is What You Make of It refuses me the permission to lay down my dreams and simply settle into what is. It calls me forward to keep reaching for what could be and to resist giving in to that sinister temptation that I am nothing more than a helpless victim in this dance called life. I think it will do the same for you.' --Mike Donehey Songwriter and author

'Justin McRoberts is one of the most prolific and gifted creators I know. It Is What You Make of It is a generous, heartfelt exploration of creativity, art, and the human experience. I was surprised by Justin's honesty in this book, and his clear desire to help us--to help me--become better artists and better human beings. Highly recommended.' --Matt Mikalatos Author of Journey to Love

'I find myself audibly saying 'Yes!' to so much of Justin's work, and this book is no exception. It Is What You Make of It is a call to move beyond simply allowing life to just 'happen' to us. Justin invites us to ask the question, What are we willing to do to make our life an adventure of creation and cocreation? Each story will challenge you to ask, What if there is more? What if each failure and success is moving us beyond just saying 'it is what it is'--and into 'it will be what we make it'? This book is a memoir, a challenge, and a divine invitation.' --Sarah Heath Speaker, pastor, author of What's Your Story?, and podcast cohost

'It Is What You Make of It' is a must-read for creators who feel stuck and uncertain of their next move. Justin McRoberts uses his familiar humor-filled tone to pull artists out of performance-based performance and into the understanding of transformational art (and life) making with and for others. 'If good art is hospitality (and it is), this book sets the table.' --Joy Ike Singer, songwriter, creator

MY REVIEW:



Justin McRoberts latest book, It Is What You Make of It: Creating Something Great from What You’ve Been Given is a phenomenal book that made an impact on the way I am able to see the world in a way to make the best of what I have rather than simply accepting something and taking it as it is and saying, “it is what it is”.

I enjoy the practical advice coming from life lessons that is interspersed with humor and wit in an easy to read book. I feel that the advice is sound and completely actionable and also very inspirational.

This book will make for a great gift to our new graduates facing the world, or to friends and families that need a little boost, positivity, and motivation in their lives.

I am so grateful to have read this book and I encourage you to do so as well. This is quite a transformational read that resonated with me, and I hope it does for you as well.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:







I am the author of three books. A celebration of relationship entitled “CMYK: The Process of Life Together,” (2012) a look at my creative process, called “Title Pending: Things I Think About When I Make Stuff” (2014) and a reflective prayer guide, entitled “Prayer: 40 Days of Practice” (2016). I have also recorded 15 musical project since 1999.

I create in order provide language for the process of faith and life. My passion is for you to live generously and well with those you're given to as well see you faithfully make good work in your world.

For that same reason, I deeply enjoy teaching, storytelling and songwriting, which I’ve done for nearly twenty years. Whether I’m leading a workshop on the creative process, sharing songs and stories or inviting folks to engage in the fight against global poverty, I value every opportunity to encourage, challenge and inspire as a creative.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

5/25/2021 The Audacity of Sara Grayson: A Novel Hardcover – May 25, 2021 AUTHOR INTERVIEW






Publisher : Post Hill Press (May 25, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 400 pages
ISBN-10 : 1642937827

What happens when the world's greatest literary icon dies before she finishes the final book in her best-selling series?
And what happens when she leaves that book in the hands of her unstable, neurotic daughter, who swears she's not a real writer?

Sara Grayson is a thirty-two-year-old greeting card writer about to land the toughest assignment of her life. Three weeks after the death of her mother--a world-famous suspense novelist--Sara learns that her mother's dying wish is for her to write the final book in her bestselling series.

Sara has lived alone with her dog, Gatsby, ever since her husband walked out with their Pro Double Waffle Maker and her last shred of confidence. She can't fathom writing a book for thirty million fans--not when last week's big win was resetting the microwave clock.

But in a bold move that surprises even herself, Sara takes it on. Against an impossible deadline and a publisher intent on sabotaging her every move, Sara discovers that stepping into her mother's shoes means stumbling on family secrets she was never meant to find--secrets that threaten her mother's legacy and the very book she's trying to create.



Review

“You know what it's like when you discover a new writer whose witty and wise voice makes your heart sing? That's Joani Elliott for me. …I stayed up too late turning pages. I loved it.” -- Ann Garvin, USA Today bestselling author of I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around

“Joani Elliott has written an enjoyable, funny, page-turning novel about the ups and downs of a woman's quest to find herself and the family she thought she knew.” -- Maddie Dawson, bestselling author of Matchmaking for Beginners

“From the moment I began this debut novel, I knew I was in for a treat. The Audacity of Sara Grayson is a rich tale…with dramatic twists at every turn. A compelling read!” -- Susannah Marren, author of A Palm Beach Wife and A Palm Beach Scandal


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:









Joani Elliott believes in the magic of stories, a good cup of tea, and the power of living a creative life. She has taught writing at the University of Maryland and Brigham Young University. She lives with her husband and two daughters near Salt Lake City, Utah. For book club resources, virtual author chats, and more, visit joanielliott.com.


Author Q and A


Q: Which character in The Audacity of Sara Grayson mirrors your own personality and personal philosophy?  

A: I’m going to say Sara Grayson, not because we’re so alike personality-wise, but because there are aspects of her writing journey that definitely mirror my own. We both faced a lot of self-doubt and we both had to take a deep dive into the craft of how to successfully write good fiction. Also, for Sara, writing becomes a way back to life and in many ways, writing created an inspiring rebirth for myself. 

Q: What can your protagonist “Sara Grayson” teach readers about taking chances and living courageously? 

A: I hope Sara Grayson teaches readers about the power of creative courage. I’m convinced there is a yearning in each of us that desires to create. What that looks like and how that manifests itself is different in all of us. When we express ourselves creatively, we risk exposure. It requires vulnerability, which calls for courage. I believe we become our most alive selves when we honor this yearning to create and give it expression. When Sara begins to honor this in herself, transformation begins. I believe it can be same for all of us. 

Q: How has writing The Audacity of Sara Grayson changed your life? 

A: Writing this book has taught me how to really and truly love writing fiction. I thought I would take a break from university teaching, write a book, and go straight back to teaching. I still love teaching and I will go back at some point, but right now all I want to do is write books. This experience has also changed how I see myself. I am a writer. I am a storyteller. I am an artist.  

Q: In writing and publishing your debut novel, what lessons have you learned? 

A: I’m learning to be patient with the process of bringing a story to life. I’m still practicing this. It is a process predicated on small and simple things. It’s showing up day after day, doing the work, and trusting that this process can ultimately create a story I can be proud of. The truth is that any great accomplishment is born from a series of small moves, small practices and a fierce commitment to them.   

Q: Are you working on a new book and will it genre cross like this book? 

A: Yes. I’m already working on my next book. It’s book club fiction like Sara Grayson and it will definitely genre cross as well. I once heard that authors should write the kinds of stories they want to read. Well, I love stories about women who have to dig deep to dig themselves out of their own challenges and I love it when these stories are woven with threads of mystery and romance. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

05.21.2021 Right Back Where We Started From by Joy Lanzendorfer @HFVBT

 


Right Back Where We Started From by Joy Lanzendorfer

Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Blackstone Publishing
Paperback; eBook, & Audiobook

Genre: Historical Fiction


If misfortune hadn't gotten in the way, Sandra Sanborn would be where she belongs--among the rich and privileged instead of standing outside a Hollywood studio wearing a sandwich board in the hope of someone discovering her. It's tough breaking into the movies during the Great Depression, but Sandra knows that she's destined for greatness. After all, her grandmother Vira crossed the country during the Gold Rush and established the Sanborns as one of San Francisco's most prominent families, and her mother Mabel grew up in a lavish mansion and married into an agricultural empire. Success, Sandra feels, is in her blood. She just needs a chance to prove it.

In between failed auditions, Sandra receives a letter from a man claiming to be her father, which calls into question everything she believes about her family--and herself. As she tries to climb the social ladder, family secrets lurk in the background, pulling her down. Until Sandra confronts the truth about how Vira and Mabel gained and lost their fortunes, she will always end up right back where she started from.

Right Back Where We Started From is a sweeping, multigenerational work of fiction that explores the lust for ambition that entered into the American consciousness during the Gold Rush and how it affected our nation's ideas of success, failure, and the pursuit of happiness. It is a meticulously layered saga--at once historically rich, romantic, and suspenseful--about three determined and completely unforgettable women.

Amazon | B&N | BAM | IndieBound | Hudson's Booksellers

Praise

"In Right Back Where We Started From Joy Lanzendorfer has crafted a terrific first novel, one brimming with energy, wit, and emotional resonance. Sandra Sanborn is a wonderful character, very much alive on the page. And, the novel captures, vividly, some of the crazier times in California's crazy history. Highly recommended!" --Peter Orner, author of Maggie Brown & Others

"Joy Lanzendorfer's thrill of a novel, Right Back Where We Started From, tells the story of an engaging young woman, eager to be discovered in 1930s Hollywood. But as she looks to the future, a letter from a man who claims to be her father pulls her to the unknown past. This is a novel of California dreaming, from the Gold Rush to the Hollywood Hills. Lanzendorfer writes with charm, style, and great energy." --Ellen Sussman, New York Times bestselling author of four novels: A Wedding in Provence, The Paradise Guest House, French Lessons, and On a Night like This

"From the California Gold Rush to the San Francisco earthquake, through the Great Depression and World War II, Joy Lanzendorfer artfully weaves a beautifully textured saga. Yearnings, secrets, and shame shape the lives of three generations of American women as they dare to question the rigid societal expectations that confine them to proscribed roles and stifle ambition. Gripping prose and complex and memorable characters make this shining debut novel a pleasure to read." --Liza Nash Taylor, author of Etiquette for Runaways and the forthcoming In All Good Faith





MY REVIEW:

Joy Lanzendorfer's debut was a well written epic tale and multigenerational saga about the unforgettable Sanborn women - Sandy, Vira and Mabel whose stories and lives were incredibly portrayed through their drive and ambition. Right Back Where We Started From was a character driven story about achieving dreams and destiny, despite the misfortunes that laid upon these women.


This historical fiction tale swept through the dreams made during the California Gold Rush, to dreams devastated by the Great Depression as the experiences of these women whose drive for success far exceeded the limits the society had put upon them during that time.


As a native Californian now living in the SoCal, I enjoyed the well researched writing about prominent times in California history including the San Francisco earthquake, to the second World War, and to the glitz and glam of the 1930's Hollywood. I could not stop turning the pages on this fantastic debut for its engaging story line, characters that jumped off the pages, and the beautifully rich and accurate detailed writing about the historical backdrop of this gorgeous sweeping story.


Well done Joy Lanzendorfer in this fantastic debut!

About the Author


Joy Lanzendorfer’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, NPR, Smithsonian, Poetry Foundation, and many others. She was included in The Best Small Fictions anthology and was a notable in The Best American Essays 2019. She has been awarded grants and residencies from the Discovered Awards for Emerging Literary Artists, Wildacres Residency Program, and the Speculative Literature Foundation.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, May 5
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 6
Review at Crystal's Library

Saturday, May 8
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Sunday, May 9
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, May 10
Review at Rajiv's Reviews

Tuesday, May 11
Excerpt at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Wednesday, May 12
Excerpt at Bookworlder

Sunday, May 16
Interview at Reader_ceygo

Monday, May 17
Review at Reader_ceygo
Review at Jorie Loves A Story

Wednesday, May 19
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Thursday, May 20
Review at Jessica Belmont

Friday, May 21
Review at Nursebookie

Monday, May 24
Review at Novels Alive
Review at Two Bookish Babes

Wednesday, May 26
Feature at Books, Cooks, Looks

Friday, May 28
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Review at The Enchanted Shelf
Review at The Book Club Network

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Right Back Where We Started From by Joy Lanzendorfer!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Right Back Where We Started From

Thursday, May 20, 2021

May 20, 2021 ALL SORROWS CAN BE BORNE by Loren Stephens AUTHOR Q and A @OTRPR




Publisher : Rare Bird Books (May 11, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 360 pages
ISBN-10 : 1644281988

SYNOPSIS

Inspired by true events, All Sorrows Can Be Born is the story of Noriko Ito, a Japanese woman faced with unimaginable circumstances that force her to give up her son to save her husband. Set in Hiroshima, Osaka, and the badlands of eastern Montana and spanning the start of World War II to 1982, this breathtaking novel is told primarily in the voice of Noriko, a feisty aspiring actress who fails her audition to enter the Takarazuka Theater Academy. Instead, she takes the “part” of a waitress at a European-style tearoom in Osaka where she meets the mysterious and handsome manager, Ichiro Uchida. They fall in love over music and marry. Soon after Noriko becomes pregnant during their seaside honeymoon, Ichiro is diagnosed with tuberculosis destroying their dreams.


Noriko gives birth to a healthy baby boy, but to give the child a better life, Ichiro convinces her to give the toddler to his older sister and her Japanese-American husband, who live in Montana. Noriko holds on to the belief that this inconceivable sacrifice will lead to her husband’s recovery. What happens next is unexpected and shocking and will affect Noriko for the rest of her life.

ADVANCE PRAISE:


“So many of us have suffered this past year or so. Many of us have had to dig deep within ourselves to learn how to bear sorrows and loss. Many of us have looked to the past for inspiration to get through difficult times. For all these reasons, Loren Stephens’ All Sorrows Can Be Borne has come at the exact right time. Inspired by true events and real people, the story looks at pain and suffering but also the ultimate triumph of love, forgiveness, and compassion. I loved the book.” —Lisa See, author of The Island of Sea Women and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

“Starting with the heart-wrenching opening chapter of All Sorrows Can be Borne, Loren Stephens weaves a tale of love, family and loss with a page-turning plot. Both harrowing and tender, this generous and emotional novel pulls you into a story of character and place that’s hard to put down. This is a beautiful book.” —Barbara Abercrombie, author of The Language of Loss

“All Sorrows Can Be Borne is a harrowing story of love and betrayal, all the more heartbreaking because it is based on family history. Post-war Japan comes alive in these pages, and even the most unforgivable acts make a tragic kind of sense when viewed through the prism of violence that marked every one of the war’s survivors. As this tale makes clear, in the wake of such trauma, humans can do the unthinkable, both to and for the ones they love.” —Aimee Liu, author of Glorious Boy



MY REVIEW:


All Sorrows Can Be Borne is a story of historical fiction, inspired by true events about author Loren Stephens husband’s Japanese birth parents and the sacrifice, hopes and dreams to give him a better life.

 

The story is a sweeping saga that begins during WWII through 1982, and set in both Osaka and Montana. The story is told primarily in the voice of Noriko an aspiring actress in Osaka who falls in love with Ichiro Uchida, the manager of the tearoom where Noriko worked as a waitress. They fall in love, marry and start a family with a healthy baby boy. But their happy ending is shattered when Ichiro is diagnosed with tuberculosis. They perform the ultimate sacrifice by sending their precious son to her older sister who lives in the badlands of eastern Montana.

 

This story is so well-written that really portrayed the sorrow Noriko had to bear. The writing of Noriko’s character and how she developed from having a very spoiled and privileged upbringing to all the suffering she had to bear as a mother and then to lose her son was incredible portrayed. Stephens captured the true essence of love, family and loss in a beautiful way.

 

In this emotionally charged and heartfelt read, Stephens writes about resilience, strength and courage framed within the backdrop of the Japanese culture and important political climate of the time.

 

I highly recommend this powerful novel. 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Loren Stephens is a widely published essayist and fiction and nonfiction storyteller. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, MacGuffin, the Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, The Forge Literary Magazine, Crack the Spine, Lunch Ticket’s Amuse Bouche series, The Write Launch, The Summerset Review, The Montreal Review, and Tablet travel magazine, to name a few. She is a two-time nominee of the Pushcart Prize and the book Paris Nights: My Year at the Moulin Review, by Cliff Simon with Loren Stephens was named one of the best titles from an independent press by Kirkus Book Reviews. She is president and founder of the ghostwriting companies, Write Wisdom and Bright Star Memoirs. Prior to establishing her company, Loren was a documentary filmmaker. Among her credits are Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist with on camera narration by Burt Lancaster, produced for PBS and nominated for an Emmy Award; Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I A Woman? produced for Coronet Films and recipient of a Golden Apple from the National Education Association; and Los Pastores: The Shepherd’s Play produced for the Latino Consortium of PBS and recipient of a Cine Gold Eagle and nominated for an Imagen Award. She is a member of the Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League; a member of its Deborah Awards Committee for Outstanding Women; and a member of Greenlight Women, an organization of women in the entertainment industry who serve as mentors. For more information visit

https://writewisdom.com/
.

ALL SORROWS CAN BE BORNE
By Loren Stephens
Rare Bird Books Hardcover; May 11, 2021
(978-1644281987; 320 Pages; $26)
https://rarebirdlit.com/
https://writewisdom.com/


AUTHOR Q and A


An Interview with Loren Stephens, author of ALL SORROWS CAN BE BORNE May 11, 2021, Rare Bird Books 

What gave you the idea to write this novel? 

Many years ago, I asked a writer friend of mine, “Where do you get your ideas for your books?” She answered, “I write what is right in front of me.” I had been married to my husband for just over ten years, and he had shared something of his Japanese family’s history but there was a lot he didn’t know. I asked him if I could research his story and use it as the basis for a novel. He agreed and that triggered my journey to All Sorrows Can Be Borne. 

What kind of research did you do? 

Of course I did a tremendous amount of research on Japanese history, Japanese-American relations before, during and after World War II, the Korean War, Japanese customs, the theater, and the religions of Japan including Tenrikyo, the religion that his mother follows. I also went to Japan for ten days to Osaka, Kyoto and Arashiyama, and met with his birth mother. His adoptive mother, who was born in Japan and is actually his birth father’s sister, accompanied me and acted as translator. We spent hours each day on “book time,” and then toured the cities. I visited my husband’s father’s grave; and his cousins’ and aunts’ and uncles’. I don’t speak any Japanese, but everyone was so cordial to me. We walked around and I stuck out like a bit of a sore thumb – being tall with bright red hair. 

 Did you interview your husband’s adoptive parents and him? 

Yes, I was fascinated to learn about his adoptive father’s background – growing up on a bean farm in Colorado, the son of a Japanese farmer and his picture bride who never learned to speak English. I learned about his adoptive father meeting and marrying his wife when he served in the Korean war based mainly in Japan. His wife was working at a Jack and Jill Club and at the local PX. And, of course, I asked my husband about his own experience in the military, and how he connected with his mother when he was stationed in Japan – how he communicated with her, what they did together when they finally met one another after so many years. 

What that reunion was like? 

I included that in the final section of the book. I had originally not planned on showing the reunion, but it seemed like a terrible cop out and once I finally jumped in and began to write, it became an important ending to the book. 

How did you decide what to include in your book and what to leave out? 

I worked with a number of editors over the time that I was going through various drafts – six in all. At the end of the day, I decided to jettison about half the book I had written and focus most of the story on Japan and on my husband’s birth mother’s story. She became the main narrator. I had to leave so much of his adoptive mother’s life in Japan and in Montana where she lived on the cutting room floor. I honestly have another book just from the stories that I could not include. That was the hardest part of writing the novel – getting rid of so many pages that I spent 2 time writing and rewriting, but I think the book is better for having focused it and keeping his birth mother and father front and center. 

 How did you choose a voice for your book? 

Most of the book is told in the first person – in the voice of Noriko Ito, my husband’s birth mother. By using the personal “I” rather than an omniscient third person narrator, the emotion of her character became more accessible to me. I embodied her character in some ways that I could not have had I stuck with the third person voice, which I used for the other characters. So it goes back and forth from first to third person. I probably could have used several first-person voices but I felt that that would have become too confusing for the reader – but I have seen that done very successfully, most recently in the fabulous novel, A Burning by Indian born writer, Megha Majumdar. 

Did you draw on any of your own life experiences in writing your book? 

Some say that every character is really a reflection of the writer. Well, I am a mother and I certainly drew upon my experience as the mother of a son to create some of the mother-son scenes in the book. I also used my own experience for some of the love scenes and I borrowed some of my husband’s personality traits when trying to create a full portrait of his father. He actually said to me, “I see that my father has some of my habits.” For example, my husband is very organized. I made his father a very organized person. And there are others. His father was a very hard worker and was compulsive in getting things finished. My husband is the same way. My husband is also a record-keeper and I had his father do the same thing. 

Were there any strange, serendipitous occurrences that happened while you were writing the book? 

When I got back from Japan, I had many hours of interviews that were partially in English and partially in Japanese. I needed to find a Japanese-English translator. My husband offered to help and put out an email blast. Someone answered by the name of Marlon Okazaki, who is a professional translator. He spent hours listening to the tapes. I received a call from him. He said, “You know it’s really strange, but your mother and I belong to the same church. I am a minister of the Tenrikyo Church as is my father and my grandfather. Your mother-in-law goes to the Tenrikyo Church in Nara, Japan. When you asked her in the tape how did she face the heartbreak of losing her son and her husband, she answered “Tenrikyo.” He then said, “I was shocked when I heard this. What an amazing coincidence.” I subsequently went to Marlon’s church in downtown Los Angeles, and we have become wonderful friends. And when he goes to Japan and to Nara for national meetings of Tenrikyo he gets in touch with my mother-in-law and has brought her information about us, and translated subsequent letters that my husband and I have written to her. 3 You established a ghostwriting company and have written books for other people. 

How is this different? 

In a way it is not that different. My job as a ghostwriter is to get into someone else’s head and to put on the page as loyally as I can their thoughts and experiences. I try to do the same thing with the characters in my novel. I begin to inhabit them over time and try and let them “speak to me.” I know that sounds a little whoo whoo but that is what happens. I remember a long time ago I met with Rudolfo Anaya, who wrote Bless Me Ultima. He told me that late at night he sits in his study and the curanderas (witches) come to visit him and tell him what to write. I believe him. There are of course differences in writing someone else’s book and writing your own. I can let my imagination create characters I need to move the story along or change some of the plot to make it more dramatic. For example, my husband’s father’s step-mother actually died shortly after the War. I kept her alive, and she appears many times in the narrative, managing to torture him mercilessly just as she did when she was alive. 

What other art forms do you draw from when writing a novel? 

Movies are a great resource for me. In fact, I think about my scenes in much the same way that a director shoots a scene in a film. I try and bring the reader into the scene; and end the scene with a cliff hangar that will drive the plot along. I also like to include allusions to movies. For example, I use The Eddy Duchin Story as a motif in the book. I also love to draw from popular and classical music. I imagine my characters listening to music or playing music as if it becomes a score to a particular scene. I also listen to music myself when I am writing. I might play the same piece of music for days which is a way to get me into the frame of mind to write. I am also a fashion buff (I wanted to be a dress designer when I was a teenager, but I couldn’t sew). Fashion styles are very important, and I use changing fashion to mark the passage of time. 

 Do you have another novel in mind? 

Right now I am working on a big Southern novel with someone so I don’t have the bandwidth to write my own novel for at least a year, but I have been playing around with a novel set in France that is a love story of sorts. It’s based on something I experienced, and it has stuck with me. I happen to have lots of letters that went back and forth between myself and a man who was living in Paris. It might turn into a novel. We’ll have to see. 

Any advice for a writer thinking about writing a novel? 

Start with a scene that has a lot of heat on it – by that I mean passion, emotion, drama, and jump in there. You don’t have to start from the beginning – but that scene can be like a pebble in a pond. You can go from that place to all the circles that surround it and one day you’ll have a completed novel. The other thing I can say is that “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Writing a novel 4 is a long-term proposition so if you want to write a novel be in it for the long haul. If it spills out of you and comes out fully formed, great, but chances are that won’t happen. But it will be worth all the time that you spend. I can’t remember who said that “Writing is rewriting” but it is true.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

05.18.2021 Excerpt Tour for THE STEPSISTERS by Susan Mallery @tlcbooktours



Paperback: 416 Pages

Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (May 25, 2021)


Once upon a time, when her dad married Sage’s mom, Daisy was thrilled to get a bright and shiny new sister. But Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.

Sage didn’t have Daisy’s smarts—she had to go back a grade to enroll in the fancy rich-kid school. So she used her popularity as a weapon, putting Daisy down to elevate herself. After the divorce, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final, improbable straw: Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled California.

Eighteen years, two kids and one troubled marriage later, Daisy never expects—or wants—to see Sage again. But when the little sister they have in common needs them both, they put aside their differences to care for Cassidy. As long-buried truths are revealed, no one is more surprised than they when friendship blossoms.

Their fragile truce is threatened by one careless act that could have devastating consequences. They could turn their backs on each other again…or they could learn to forgive once and for all and finally become true sisters of the heart.




Purchase Links
MIRA | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About Susan Mallery

No.1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives – family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.

Connect with Susan
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Please enjoy an EXCERPT from the book:

Sage supposed describing the Beverly Hills boutique where she worked as “upscale” was being redundant. In this part of town, money was required. Designers ruled, and in her store, it was all Italian, all the time.

When she’d decided to return to the States—although the word “decided” was a loose interpretation of what had hap­pened—she’d known retail was her best bet. She’d worked in exclusive boutiques in Paris, Milan and Rome. She was used to dealing with incredibly wealthy women who not only ex­pected deference and good service, but wanted someone who understood the pain of being them.

Despite being the new girl in the store, she was doing all right. There were enough walk-ins to keep her busy and the more established sales professionals had taken to passing off difficult clients to her. When that happened, Sage did her best to meet the challenge with style and cunning. Demanding bitches might not be fun, but they often had tons of money and if you tamed one, you had a loyal client for life.

Her theory was currently being tested by a thirtysomething who had come in looking for a dress for a cocktail party. So far Inocencia had rejected eight dresses. Just as thrilling, her ridiculous teacup Yorkie had peed on the rug and wouldn’t stop barking.

The black-haired, blue-eyed beauty (Inocencia, not the dog) glared at her.

“You’re not helping,” she said, her voice rising in volume with every word. “I need something special. Why can’t you get that through your thick head? Can you handle this or do I need to get someone with half a brain?”

The loathing in the words was mitigated by the fact that Inocencia was wearing nothing but a thong. She had an amaz­ing body, including perfect breasts, the product of excellent plastic surgery.

Sage considered her options. She was running out of size zero dresses for her client, but really didn’t want to lose the sale. It was time to put on a show.

“It must be difficult to find something extraordinary when you already have so many lovely clothes,” Sage said in English, before deliberately switching to Italian. “Sono assolutal­mente d’accordo.”

Inocencia stared at her suspiciously. “What did you say?”

Sage blinked innocently, before slapping her hand over her mouth. “Oh, no!” She dropped her arm to her side. “I apolo­gize. I’m still speaking in Italian, I mean. English is obviously my first language, but I’ve only been back a few weeks.” She smiled winningly. “I said I absolutely agree with you.”

“You lived in Italy?” Inocencia asked.

“I did. I moved to Europe after high school. First I worked in Paris, then Milan and finally in Rome. It’s great to be home, but there are adjustments.” She laughed. “I’d forgot­ten how in LA we all drive everywhere. In Europe, everyone walks to everything. I miss that. And the history. Especially in Rome. There’s a beautiful statue around every corner. Here, billboards.”

Inocencia relaxed. “You worked in retail?”

“Yes. Designer boutiques. What a thrill to see the clothes created and then produced. Everything was couture. I wish I had a few of those dresses for you.” She lowered her voice. “Not everyone who can afford that kind of fashion has the, ah, ability to display it as it’s meant to be worn.”

Inocencia shocked her by smiling. “A few of my friends try to squeeze into dresses they should not be wearing. Get your fat ass to the gym, right?”

Sage moved close and lowered her voice. “There are a cou­ple of dresses in back being held for the exclusive client list, but I think they’re a little more your style. Let me see if I can shake a couple loose for you.”

Inocencia bent down and picked up her dog. “We’d like that very much. Thank you, Sage.”

“Of course.”

Sage left the dressing room and went into the back. There were no exclusive client collections—just a few items that hadn’t been put out yet. She found two she thought would work. As she grabbed them, her manager walked into the small storage space.

“I heard a part of that,” Berry, the boutique manager, said in a low voice.

 

 




Monday, May 17, 2021

05.17.2021 The Halo Conspiracy (Lucas Nash Series Book 1) by Michael Murphy @TLCBooktours

 


Publisher : Michael Murphy (April 15, 2021)
Publication date : April 15, 2021
Language : English


In mid-twenty-first century, solving murders hasn’t become any easier. Cutting edge science has created more opportunities for crime than offered solutions.

A ruthless technology company threatens to reveal Project Halo, a scientific breakthrough that will change humanity forever. Layers of secrecy conceal cutting-edge robotics, artificial intelligence and even rumors of synthetic humans. Before scientists can correct flaws that threaten the program, someone or something murders the brains behind the project.

Michael Murphy’s witty fast-paced sci-fi mystery introduces Lucas Nash, a gritty, by the book homicide detective thrust into a world he always avoids, high tech. He sifts through a maze of suspects; Rachel, a spirited intern, a brute of a security chief, a treacherous woman, the murdered man’s partner, and two ambitious Army officers, one found dead in the arms of a married schoolteacher, and a Colonel who can’t be found.

A media starved religious leader warns the world against the evils of technology with his beautiful assistant, Lucas’s one-time flame. Before uncovering the killer’s identity, an unlikely romance threatens to derail the investigation and end Lucas’s career. With pressure mounting from his superiors and the government, Lucas must set aside his feelings and solve the murder before technology makes him and humanity the next victims.

REVIEW:

There is nothing I love more than reading a first book in the series, and this one is a great one to look forward to with upcoming installations. 

The Halo Conspiracy is a captivating and a fast- paced futuristic Sci-Fi adventure murder mystery read with twists and turns that kept me intrigued and guessing. Set in the distant future where the world has changed and advancements have created chaos. When the brains behind Project Halo is murdered, homicide detective Lucas Nash gets to work in his own old fashioned style - and that is with his own smarts against the Artificial Intelligence and futuristic world he sets to avoid. 

I enjoyed Lucas Nash's character and find that this start of a series intriguing, exciting with a lot of potential. Well done Michael Murphy on this wonderful weaving of a gritty old fashioned detective in a futuristic world. 


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:



When he is not writing genre bending novels, Arizona author Michael Murphy is busy raising their four adopted children, five rescue dogs and a feral cat.

05.17.2021 ONLY THE PRETTY LIES BY Rebekah Crane @Tlcbooktours



Publisher : Skyscape (May 1, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 271 pages
ISBN-10 : 1542019664

A young love story about breaking painful legacies by the author of The Upside of Falling Down.


Convention doesn’t carry much weight in Alder Creek. It doesn’t in Amoris Westmore’s family either. Daughter of a massage therapist and a pothead artist, inheritor of her grandmother’s vinyl collection, and blissfully entering her senior year in high school, Amoris never wants to leave her progressive hometown. Why should she?

Everything changes when Jamison Rush moves in next door. Jamison was Amoris’s first crush, and their last goodbye still stings. But Jamison stirs more than bittersweet memories. One of the few Black students in Alder Creek, Jamison sees Amoris’s idyllic town through different eyes. He encourages Amoris to look a little closer, too. When Jamison discovers a racist mural at Alder Creek High, Amoris’s worldview is turned upside down.

Now Amoris must decide where she stands and whom she stands by, threatening her love for the boy who stole her heart years ago. Maybe Alder Creek isn’t the town Amoris thinks it is. She’s certainly no longer the girl she used to be.

“Inspired by a true event, Crane (The Infinite Pieces of Us, 2018) earnestly explores how silence perpetuates racism and what it means to be antiracist…With countless quotable lines like ‘Love is a human right, not a reward for good behavior,’ and timely antiracism discussion, this is a YA novel with love and substance.” ―Booklist (starred review)

“A na├»ve girl is forced to reconcile truths she thought she knew with the reality of the boy she loves. A romance that tackles serious issues…” ―Kirkus Reviews


MY REVIEW:

I had been a fan of Rebekah Crane's writing, and this current installment explores timely themes about racism and how it is to be an antiracist.

Crane was able to tackle sensitive issues about racism and privilege in an idyllic small town setting and what was buried just beneath the surface. I found the writing timely and thought provoking. The character arc and growth was one that I enjoyed reading about in this story.

The writing was an easy read, fast paced and very hopeful despite the heavy themes, all the while remaining uplifting and positive.




AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:

Rebekah Crane is the author of The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland and other young-adult novels. She found a passion for this genre while studying secondary English education at Ohio University. She is a former high school English teacher, a yoga instructor, and the mother of two girls. After living and teaching in six different cities, Rebekah finally settled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to write novels and work on screenplays. She now spends her days tucked behind a laptop at seventy-five hundred feet, where the altitude only enhances the writing experience.

May 17, 2021 A Mother's Promise By K.D. Alden @KDAldenAuthor @hfvbt

 

A Mother's Promise by K.D. Alden

Publication Date: January 19, 2021 Forever/Grand Central Paperback & eBook; 384 pages 
 Genre: Historical Fiction


                

  Based on the true story behind a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision, K.D. Alden’s debut is a rich and moving story of one woman’s courage and strength at a pivotal point in America’s history. Virginia, 1927. A chance to have a family. That’s all Ruth Ann Riley wants. But because she was unwed and pregnant, she was sent away and her baby given to another woman. Now they’re trying to take Ruth Ann’s right to have another child. But she can’t stand the thought of never seeing little Annabel’s face again, never snuggling up to her warmth or watching her blue eyes crinkle with laughter. Good thing she has a plan. All the rich and fancy folks may call her feeble-minded, but Ruth Ann is smarter than any of them have bargained for. Because no matter how high the odds are stacked against her, she is going to overcome the scandals in her past and get her child back—and along the way, she just may find unexpected friendships and the possibility of love in the most unlikely of places.

"A Mother's Promise is a powerful, heart-wrenching, ultimately uplifting novel about the bonds of family and one woman's courage in the face of adversity. K.D. Alden brings history to life with rich storytelling and deep emotion."―V.S. Alexander, author of The Magdalen Girls

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Hudson | IndieBound | Powell's | Target | Walmart


MY REVIEW:

There are just some decisions in our blemished past that should be erased from history forever. I learned so much about the 1927 US Supreme Court Buck vs Bell decision that put into law sterilizing what some may consider unfit - this ruling led to as many as 70,000 Americans being sterilized. The eugenicists labeled these women unfit by reasons of being poor, feebleminded or indolent. 

Carrie Buck's character was fictionalized in this heartbreaking story A Mother's Promise" and Alden wrote this story in a deeply moving and completely immersive that I found myself deeply absorbed into this part of our American History. I just cannot fathom that this indeed happened in real life. 

This certainly is a thought provoking read and had a wonderful time discussing this book with some other readers in a group. The writing style was engrossing with great pacing that really engaged my attention from the start. I highly recommend this fantastic historical fiction book!

About the Author

K.D. Alden is the pseudonym of an award-winning author who has written more than twenty novels in various genres. She has been the recipient of the Maggie Award, the Book Buyer’s Best Award, and an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. A Mother’s Promise is her first historical novel. K.D. is a graduate of Smith College, grew up in Austin, Texas, and resides in South Florida with her husband and two rescue greyhounds.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 17 Review at Nursebookie Excerpt at Books, Ramblings, and Tea Tuesday, May 18 Review at Booking With Janelle Wednesday, May 19 Review at Amanda in PA Thursday, May 20 Review at Niki Loves to Read Friday, May 21 Interview at Jathan and Heather Tuesday, May 25 Interview at Books & Benches Wednesday, May 26 Excerpt at Coffee and Ink Friday, May 28 Review at Two Bookish Babes

Giveaway

Enter to win a $25 Gift Card to Amazon or Target! The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter. A Mother's Promise Tour2

Friday, May 14, 2021

May 14, 2021 The Coronation by Justin Newland @hfvbt

 


The Coronation by Justin Newland

Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Matador
Paperback & eBook; 299 pages

Genre: Historical Fantasy


It is 1761. Prussia is at war with Russia and Austria. As the Russian army occupies East Prussia, King Frederick the Great and his men fight hard to win back their homeland.

In Ludwigshain, a Junker estate in East Prussia, Countess Marion von Adler celebrates an exceptional harvest. But this is soon requisitioned by Russian troops. When Marion tries to stop them, a Russian Captain strikes her. His Lieutenant, Ian Fermor, defends Marion's honour, but is stabbed for his insubordination. Abandoned by the Russians, Fermor becomes a divisive figure on the estate.

Close to death, Fermor dreams of the Adler, a numinous eagle entity, whose territory extends across the lands of Northern Europe and which is mysteriously connected to the Enlightenment. What happens next will change the course of human history...

"The author is an excellent storyteller." – British Fantasy Society

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble


MY REVIEW:

The Coronation by Justin Newland was a novel set in Prussia in the latter half of the 18th century. I was so intrigued by this book since it was about King Frederick the Great, the last Hohenzollern monarch and under his leadership, Prussia became the leading military power in Europe. In this genre bending fiction, Newland wrote a mix of historical, fantasy, faith, and the supernatural. The story was set amidst the political fervor of the time, framed around the Enlightenment, that I found to be an intriguing read and hard to put down once I was in the midst of the action. With a formidable character as Marion von Adler, Newland certainly wrote a character that was a force to be reckoned with, as she saved her people from starvation and protected her children. This certainly was an entertaining historical fantasy read I enjoyed.

About the Author


Justin Newland was born in Essex, England, three days before the end of 1953.

His love of literature began with swashbuckling sea stories, pirates and tales of adventure. Undeterred by the award of a Doctorate in Mathematics from Imperial College, London, he worked in I.T. and later ran a hotel.

His taste in literature is eclectic: from literary fiction and fantasy, to science fiction, with a special mention for the magical realists and the existentialists. Along the way, he was wooed by the muses of history, both ancient and modern, and then got happily lost in the labyrinths of mythology, religion and philosophy. Justin writes secret histories in which real events and historical personages are guided and motivated by numinous and supernatural forces.

His debut novel, The Genes of Isis, is a tale of love, destruction, and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt, and which tells the secret history of the human race, Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

His second is The Old Dragon’s Head, a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times.

Set during the Enlightenment, his third novel, The Coronation reveals the secret history of perhaps the single most important event of the modern world – The Industrial Revolution.

He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 26
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Tuesday, April 27
Review at Vincent Triola

Thursday, April 29
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Friday, April 30
Excerpt at CelticLady's Reviews

Monday, May 3
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, May 5
Excerpt at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Friday, May 7
Review at Bookworlder

Tuesday, May 11
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Friday, May 14
Review at Nurse Bookie

Monday, May 17
Review at Libri Draconis

Friday, May 21
Guest Post Historical Fiction Reviews

Tuesday, May 25
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 31
Review at The Enchanted Shelf

Giveaway

Enter to win a paperback copy of The Coronation! Two paperbacks are up for grabs.

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Coronation

05.14.2021 The Girl I Used to Be By Heidi Hostetter

 


The Girl I Used to Be: A gripping and emotional page-turner

Publisher : Bookouture (May 11, 2021)
Publication date : May 11, 2021
Language : English

Synopsis:
Your husband is not the man you thought he was… but how do you move on, when you’re forced to keep his secret?

When Jill Goodman’s picture-perfect marriage implodes, she’s heartbroken. Still reeling from the shock, the only thing she receives in the hasty divorce settlement is the deed to her husband’s sprawling beach house on the New Jersey coastline. Jill never cared about money – only her marriage – but with Marc determined to take everything she owns, the beach house is her only lifeline left.

With no other choice, Jill travels to the shore intending to sell the house quickly—but the task is not as easy as she expects. Still, she can’t help but be charmed by the beautiful seaside town and its sweetly old-fashioned ways. Despite everything, Jill is starting to see a path back to who she was before she met her husband – not the demure, polished housewife she’d become, but the smiling young woman with the strong Jersey accent who loved her family more than anything.

Then Jill dives deeper into Marc’s secrets and she stumbles across a something in her husband’s past that changes everything. Could Jill herself have been unknowingly complicit in what Marc did and, if so, what will happen to her when the truth finally comes to light? With Marc determined to bury the evidence, can Jill find a way to save herself before her once perfect husband takes her down with him?

A gripping, emotional read that will keep you turning the pages late into the night, perfect for fans of Amanda Prowse, Elin Hilderbrand and Diane Chamberlain.


My Review:

Heidi Hostetter writes an emotionally gripping story about fractured families and the power of resilience and starting over.

The Girl I Used to Be is a well written contemporary women's' fiction about Jillian DiFiore whose perfect marriage comes crashing down after discovering her husband Marc's affair. In a whirlwind divorce, she ends up with the property right on the Jersey Shore, where she unearths secrets her husband has been a part of.

In a story that gripped me from the very first chapter, I read this through in a weekend while spending my time by the water over Mother's Day weekend, and it sure was a delight. Hostetter has won my heart for her strong and resilient characters, in the beautiful New Jersey sea side setting.

A fantastic Beach Read that will surely entertain and keep your fingers turning those pages.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:


Heidi Hostetter grew up in New Jersey and spent summers at her grandparents' house on the shore. Every magical thing was there, from sparklers and fireflies at night to whole days spent swimming in the ocean and exploring tide pools. She moved to South Carolina for college where Southern culture inspired the Lowcountry novels. Her first job brought her to the Pacific Northwest, where she lived long enough to appreciate the rain and the mountains and to write the Inlet Beach novels. She and her family have recently moved back across the country to the DC-area and live in a one hundred-year-old house that's definitely haunted.

When she's not writing - or reading, you can probably find her digging in her garden, ripping back a knitting project, or burning dinner. She's recently learned to kayak on the Potomac and is always up for a trip to a bookstore, no matter how far away.

Heidi is currently at work on the second book in the New Jersey Shore series. Her writing partner, a labradoodle named Emmett shares her office, keeping a careful watch for errant squirrels and neighborhood shenanigans.

She loves to hear from readers and answers all her own mail. You can find her here:

Facebook Author Page: facebook.com/AuthorHeidiHostetter/
Facebook Reading Group: facebook.com/groups/636728933179573
Goodreads: Goodreads.com/HeidiHostetter
Website: www.HeidiHostetter.com
Twitter: @HeidiHostetter


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

12 May 2021 REPLACED PARTS @tlcbooktours, @fireiceyabooks, and @stephaniehansenauthor

 

About Replaced Parts

• Paperback: 240 Pages • Publisher: Fire & Ice Young Adult Books (January 5, 2021) In the year 2163 a corrupt World Government controls everything on our planet and beyond. Sixteen year-old Sierra has been so caught up in her own world of saving animal test subjects and her father’s disappearance, she hasn’t paid much attention. When she finally finds his location, she and her friend set off on a covert interplanetary mission to rescue him, she begins to see the corruption first hand. Discovering that her father has been on the front lines secretly trying to save human test subjects inspires her to join a revolution. But she is afraid of the collateral damage of hurting the people she loves. Will she find the strength to make a deal with the mad scientist Cromwell to save not just her friends and family but everyone?  


 

Purchase Links

Fire & Ice | Barnes & Noble


My Review:

Replaced Parts by Stephanie Hansen was a wonderful young adult science fiction novel that was bingeable and fun to read. this story transports us to the year 2163 and our protagonist Sierra a 16 yo and the other cast of characters were incredibly fun to read about. Sierra is a wonderful and brilliant young woman who I feel is such a great example for young adults for her passion in science, works in genetics, and even saving animals - she is haunted by the fact that her father has left her and her mother. As she continues to search for him, she realizes that her father did not leave them but was in fact taken, and the corrupt World Government may be behind his disappearance. 

The pacing was fantastic and really kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the characters and the side characters as well that really brought the story to life and made it highly entertaining to read. Overall, I thought that the plot and pacing was fantastic and this is a fun science fiction book that I highly recommend for being very well written that is also highly entertaining.

About Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen is a PenCraft Award Winning Author. Her short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind’s Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She's part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers’ conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Find out more about her at her website, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

05.11.2021 THE FALLING WOMAN by Richard Farrell @ALGONQUINBOOKS @RJFarrell28

 



Publisher : Algonquin Books (May 11, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 352 pages

It gives me great pleasure to share Richard Farrell’s exhilarating debut novel THE FALLING WOMAN (Publication Date: May 11, 2021; $16.95), a deeply moving look at the tensions between family loyalty and personal desires, and a provocative examination of the value of privacy in this age of saturation media. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Farrell drew from historical incidents of passengers surviving impossible plane crashes, and from his own experience as a pilot, to craft this propulsive, complex tale. “What would you do if you were confronted with a miracle?” asks Robin Oliveira, author of Winter Sisters. “That is the essential question posed in THE FALLING WOMAN. Part mystery and part prayer, this page-turner about mortality is iridescent.”


Erin Geraghty is on her way to a survivor’s retreat when she boards her flight. Facing a losing battle with cancer, with diminishing hope of a full recovery, she considers herself essentially dead to her loved ones, resigned to a fate of failed medical interventions and long, painful goodbyes. Then she awakens in a barn still strapped to her seat, the sole survivor of the catastrophic crash of Pointer Airlines Flight 795. Assumed to have died in the crash, she is intent on remaining dead to the world and to her family, to live out her final days in peace. Charlie Radford, a young National Transportation Safety Board investigator, is part of the team sent to determine what caused the crash. When he hears a rumor of a survivor, he assumes it is a hoax, but as word of this “miracle” reaches the media and Congress, Radford is forced to track down “the falling woman.” Can he find Erin and convince her to come forward—and does he have any right to?


Richard Farrell grew up obsessed with flying, and he began taking flying lessons at 16. “I spent countless hours staring at vapor contrails in the sky, identifying airplane silhouettes, and listening to the trembling whir of turboprops on winter nights,” he explains. “Well on my way to achieving my dream, I suffered a seizure in the cockpit of a Navy training jet, and my flying career ended. I was 23. I knew I could never again pilot an airplane, and I struggled with this for a long time, more than a decade. The loss of my pilot’s wings eventually led me to writing fiction, and THE FALLING WOMAN emerged from my journey as a fledgling aviator, and from the deep and rich mythology of aviation. It helped me reconstruct my dream.”


Tense, thrilling, and deeply profound, THE FALLING WOMAN examines what it means to be singled out by luck or destiny, and explores what we owe to our loved ones in our final days, and what we owe ourselves.


MY REVIEW:

The Falling Woman is a wonderful novel that is both fast paced and thought provoking read about a lone survivor and a woman battling Pancreatic Cancer. 

Erin Geraghty survives a plane explosion over Kansas as she is coming from a Cancer retreat on a flight from from DC to San Francisco. The NTSB investigates the crash and sends Charlie Radford to determine the cause of the crash and confirm Erin's existence. However,  Erin wants to live out the remainder of her life alone and goes into hiding. She is tired of battling this cancer and does not want to cause additional heartache for her loved ones, to only survive this tragic plane explosion then to have to lose her a few months later. 

This was such a great read for me. I always navigate to how medical information is written in books as a nurse and appreciate all the research that have gone to write a well-researched topic. I was also quite intrigued with the idea of survivors and lone survivors especially of plane crashes and other major catastrophic events. This book makes for a great group discussion for a book club and buddy reads. I really enjoyed this one a lot. 

Praise for The Falling Woman


“[A] mind-rattling debut mystery… Page after page, Farrell builds confusion and frustration into an incendiary debate between belief in the miraculous and the basic laws of physics… When he finally discovers the truth, what Charlie does with it will make for an explosive discussion long after the final chapter.”

— Shelf Awareness


“A startling and suspenseful debut, Farrell’s The Falling Woman creates an immediately compelling scenario… Farrell keeps a firm grip on the story’s inherent tensions while also delving into the subtle and profound questions the incredible story provokes.”

—CrimeReads


“[The Falling Woman] opens with Erin’s fall, and the breathless introduction sets Farrell’s propulsive, emotional story in motion. Though Erin’s choices may not immediately align with societal expectations, it’s her commitment to her own beliefs—and her deep instinct to do what’s best for her family—that will pull readers into her corner.”

—Manhattan Book Review


“Former pilot Farrell’s skillfully written story of hope, love, and regret contemplated amid a fast-paced, high-pressure major airline accident investigation will appeal to readers who enjoyed Michael Crichton’s Airframe, Gregg Hurwitz’s The Survivor, and Noah Hawley’s Before the Fall.”

—Library Journal


“[A] solid debut… Farrell’s thoughtful novel calls to mind the heights of Rafael Yglesias’s Fearless.”

—Publishers Weekly


“An intriguing story given weight by its examination of what it means to be faithful.”

—Booklist


“An ambitious debut novel about a plane crash investigation and the solitary survivor of the deadly accident… A former pilot himself, [Farrell] writes vividly, at times rhapsodically, about flying.”

—Kirkus Reviews


“The Falling Woman is the kind of novel I like best: a page-turning glimpse into a world I have always been curious about (an investigation of a commercial airline accident) combined with great writing, great plotting and a thoughtful plumbing of what makes us human—with a twist at the end. Highly recommended.”

—B.A. Shapiro, bestselling author of The Collector's Apprentice


“A thoughtful, intelligent, and meticulously crafted novel about expectations and choices, tragedies and miracles, limitations and freedom. I enjoyed every page; it is a gem.”

—T. Greenwood, author of Keeping Lucy


“What would you do if you were confronted with a miracle? That is the essential question posed in The Falling Woman, a surprisingly spiritual novel about a plane crash. Two people entwined in the investigation, both in desperate need of hope—and a true home—grapple with an answer, which may prove as perilous as the catastrophe. Part mystery and part prayer, this page turner about mortality is iridescent. I loved it.'”

—Robin Oliveira, author of Winter Sisters


“A stunning debut, The Fallen Woman kept me riveted to the very last page. Without sacrificing an ounce of suspense, Farrell manages to ask the big questions about life and love. This is a novel that is perfect for book clubs.”

—Thomas Greene, author of The Perfect Liar and The Housemaster’s Wife

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Richard Farrell is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a former pilot who holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work has appeared in Hunger Mountain, upstreet, New Plains Review, Potomac Review, Descant, and elsewhere. Originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, he teaches creative writing at Grossmont College in San Diego, where he lives with his wife and two children. This is his first novel.